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THOMAS GRAY, V.D., J.P., M.Inst.C.E. 






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[All rights restfved.) 













February, 1909. 



THERE is a wild and lonely solitude of sand 
where the sad cry of the sea-bird and the 
unceasing lap of the tireless tide are almost the 
only sounds that meet the ear of the wanderer who 
tracks along the Glamorgan beach over the site of 
the buried town — Kenfig — formerly the pride of its 
possessors, content and happy in its castle, its lands 
arable and pasture, its corporate and domestic life, 
its residents and denizens — " in fortune's varying 
colours drest." This once active centre lies deep 
below the all-devouring sand which has engulphed 
everything but one solitary fragment of a wall yet 
left, in cruel irony, to mark the actual spot where 
clash of sword and buckler, clatter of hoofs, and 
clang of arms were heard half a thousand years ago. 
But the history of the place remains scattered in 
ancient manuscripts ; and to Mr. Thomas Gray, of 
Port Talbot, we all owe a debt of praise, for he 
has gleaned the scattered aftermath of its annals, 
reconstructed to the eye of fancy its edifices, clothed 
anew with vitality the dry bones of its antiquity, 
and with the true art of the archaeologist caused us 
to feel, as it were, that we live in the very times 

't'"' PREFACE 

which he has so eloquently depicted. And this 
depicting is not set in the high-sounding phrases 
of conventional rhetoric, but in a style bred of pure 
naturalness and keen observation — qualities which 
endow this book with a grace that cannot fail to 
charm its readers. The sand-girt town of Kenfig, 
like many another town in similar plight set on 
the Wirral of Cheshire, has had its day of fame and 
glory, its long array of noble owners, its active 
populace, its trade and its commerce, but these 
have fled, and it has been left to the author to 
recover from the veiled past a multitude of interesting 
records of facts which throw light on the history of 




PREFACE ....... 7 



KENFIG CASTLE . . . . . -57 


CHARTERS OF KENFIG . . . . . .98 












KENFIG ....... 230 

STORMY, OR STURMI ...... 253 


NEWTON NOTTAGE . . . . . .283 

TALES OF KENFIG ...... 294 



LEGENDS ....... 300 





I. The Descendants of Sir Robert Fitzhamon . 329 

II. Additional Notes ..... 335 

INDEX 337 



MARGAM ABBEY ..... Frontispiece 


THE SITE OF KENFIG . . . . . . 1 6 


SEAL OF MARGAM ABBEY . . . . . . I9 

SEAL OF KENFIG . . . . . . -19 


1804) . 35 


TO A DEED CIRCA 121$ . . . . . .40 




CORNELI. ....... 76 


KENFIG FARM .....•• 83 








KENFIG POOL ....... 180 



SKER house, DISTANT VIEW ...... 23I 











OVERHEAD birds are singing with heartfelt 
joy of life this glorious summer morning. All 
around me are hillocks of golden sand, tipped with 
pleasing contrast of colour by the green of the sea- 
sedge, 2 with which they are clad in part. The soft 
summer wind whispers its sad note through the 
waving rushes as it comes from over the great waste 
of triumphant sand which seems as it were out of 
place so far from sound of murmuring sea. There 
are in nature sounds which seem to me to brinsf 

' As the traveller proceeds by the Great Western Railway 
along the coast of South Wales from Pyle to Port Talbot, 
on his left between the railway and the sea- shore sleeps 
the lost town to the history of which these pages are devoted. 

2 Sea-sedge : Ammophila arundinacea. 


back to mind memories of childhood ; so the sighing 
of the wind in lonely places somehow recalls thoughts 
and memories of the past, and thus I say the wind's 
note is sad. 

The sand dunes now appear so restful that it is 
difficult to realise how ruthlessly the sand drove man 
from home and lands in far-off days. Here and there 
are still clear spaces of meadow, as if to keep in 
memory the green fields which once smiled in the 
face of the sun. 

Gazing seaward, all seems a dreary, desolate waste ; 
but if you walk among the dunes and take notice, 
wild flowers, and many, greet you here and there in 
brilliant clusters of varied colours. Sweetest of them 
all, I think, the little burnet rose,^ which cowers low 
because the sea-wind has at times so little kindness. 
Wild mint- in patches gives pleasing glint of blue. 
Sea-holly, 3 with leaves of glaucous green and purple 
flower. The gold and the purple iris 4 with sword- 
like leaf. Viper's bugloss. 5 The lovely orchis in 
dark red, lilac, and some paler, almost white. The 
dusky bugle. 6 The geranium, the meadow crane's 
bill. 7 The great mullein. ^ The pansy, blue and 
yellow.9 The fleabane.'° The scarlet pimpernel, the 
poor man's weatherglass." The yellow toad-flax, '^ 
sprung from Trojan Helen's tears, and in damp spots 

^ Rosa spinosissima. ' Mentha arvensis. 

3 Eryngium maritimum. 

4 Iris pseudacorus (yellow) and Iris foetidissima (purple). 

5 Echium vulgare. ^ Ajuga reptans. 

^ Geranium pratense. ^ Verbascum thapsus. 

9 Viola tricolor. '° Pulicaria dysenterica. 

" Anagallis arvensis. " Linaria vulgaris. 


the lovely turquoise blue forget-me-not, ^ and what is 
often called forget-me-not — and it is not unlike, if not 
regarded closely, the colour being almost the same — 
the Germander speedwell. ^ 

All these and many more are there ; they love the 
wild expanse, and strive to brighten a scene which 
would, without them, be more dreary still. The 
flowers I have seen on other days, when thoughts of 
Kenfig town were not those uppermost. 

Life is here in plenty. The " wanton " plover wheels 
and swoops about, and seeks in plaintive cry to 
coax one from too great a nearness to its nest. The 
tawny owl finds happy hunting-grounds here, and the 
rabbit burrows ready-made places for its nesting. 
The kestrel, or windhover, hovers over its prey 
among the sand dunes ; a hillock close by is called 
Twyn-y-barcud, the kite's mound. The cuckoo comes 
from sunny Africa to tell that spring is due ; until it 
comes the spring seems still far off, for winter now 
holds fast so much of spring. 

If one tarries till the glint of sun is somewhat 
worn, and rays come level from the west with cool 
shade cast from sandy mound, rabbits swarm, and, 
growing bold by dint of thoughts of waiting clover, 
gaze and wonder why you linger in their domain. 

Yes, the sough of the summer wind here is sad, for 
it seems to bear the faint, far-off echoes of the busy 
town which once stood around this spot, eager and 
throbbing with life ; here, where quiet reigns, was 
heard the hum of busy throng, the noise of work, 
the clang of men-at-arms, and sound of strident 
' Myosotis palustris. ^ Veronica chamaedrys. 


trumpet from the castle-walls. Children babbled and 
played, and idlers basked and gossiped in the sunny 

Kenfig town once stood here, nestling close up to 
the castle-moat for feeling of security. 

But the town has vanished, no vestige remains. 
The cruel sand, in league with storm, claimed it as 
its prey, and won it. Man was beaten ; the sand 
remained victorious. A little bit is left, it is true, but 
it is an outlying part, Mawdlam and the few scattered 
houses on the ridge, called Ton Kenfig. These look, 
in the drowsy summer heat, as if they had slept like 
Rip Van Winkle and had awakened surprised to find 
so little left of what had been before, and had gone to 
sleep again. 

Refusing to be hidden by the sand, two gaunt arms 
rise from a grassy mound as if to bear witness of the 
great castle they had so long kept watch over — the 
only ruins of a lordly stronghold. These are the sole 
visible relics, with the moat in part, of Kenfig Castle. 
At the foot of the mound, out of which project 
the two clumps of masonry, flows the Kenfig river. 
Beyond, to the northward, lies the great plain of 
Morfa,' and in the distance rise in bluish haze the 
bracken-clad hills of Margam, the scene of fierce 
struggles betwe>„n Silures and Romans, and later, 
between Cymry and Normans. Bodvoc sighed his 
last breath on these hills long, long before this 
ancient castle rose in its pride. ^ 

' Morfa, a moor which the sea overflows. 
^ The Sepulchural Stone on the Margam Mountain has this 
inscription : — 

i ' ■ 


Just a little east of Kenfig Castle is the Roman 
highway through these parts, the Via Julia Maritima. 
In the stillness of the night fifteen hundred years ago, 
and more, one standing here — before Kenfig was 

" Bodvoci hie iacit, 
Filius Catotigirni 
Pronepus Eternal! Vedomavi." 

" Here lies (the body of) Bodvoc, son of Catotigirn, great grand- 
son of Eternalis Vedomavus." 

I believe Catotigirn to be Catigirn, son of Vortigern. Vortigern 
became King of Britain about forty years after the Roman 
power ceased in this country, circa a.d. 449. Catigirn fell 
in a battle against the Saxons under Hengist and Horsa, his 
brother Vortimer being the general. Nennius does not mention 
Bodvoc, but I believe he was a son of Catigirn. Westwood says 
" coins of gold and silver have been found with the name 
Bodvoc upon them ("Ruding's Coinage," British Series, App. 
pi. 29). The name Bodvognatus is mentioned by Caesar, " De 
Bello Gallico," iii. 23. Pascent, the third son of Vortigern, 
reigned after the death of his father in Builth and Guorthegir- 
naim, a district of Radnorshire. 

Eternalis Vedomavus 

Vortigern, King of Britain 

Catigirn (2) Vortimer (i) Pascent (3) 


Westwood, in his work " Lapidarium Wallias," says the 
formula and orthography are debased Roman, so the date of 
the stone is probably of the fifth or early part of the sixth 

Reference to the Margam and Penrice MSS. is made thus : 
T. 289 (Dr. Birch's Catalogue) ; and to the MSS. in Mr. G. T. Clark's 
" Cartae et Alia Munimenta de Glamorgan " thus : (C. DCXIII). 



thought of — could hear the tramp of the Roman 
soldiers of the Second Legion, the troops having 
the guardianship of the Western lands, and the rumble 
of the wagons conveying the denarii, or tax collected 
in the west, to the Imperial treasury at Isca Silurum 
or Caerleon. Long since as this was, the road still 
recalls, by its name, the Roman occupation — Heol-y- 
troedwyr, the road of the foot-soldiers. 

As I drove home along the Roman road, there lay 
basking in the sun, by the road-side, two modern 
"Latins" who little recked their proud ancestors had 
passed that way, they with sword, these with hurdy- 
gurdy, tax-collectors both. 

Such is the site of Kenfig to-day ; silence and deso- 
lation reign supreme. 

When did this desolation come about? Did it 
come quickly, as a thief in the night, or was it a 
gradual overwhelming ? We cannot say. Tradition 
has it that the besanding was caused by a great storm 
in the reign of Elizabeth ; but here tradition is at 
fault. I believe the sand-fiend approached its prey 
with slow but sure strides, like a line of skirmishers 
sent out in front of the main body, and then with 
intervals of fierce rushes, always gaining ground, 
and retaining it. 

We can, to some extent, judge of what took place 
from what is recorded as having occurred at Margam, 
near by. A few of the Margam Charters mention the 
Hermitage of Theodoric^ as a landmark in the 
description of the boundaries of the abbey lands. 

' "The Hermitage of Theodoric and the Site of Pendar," 
Thomas Gray, Arch. Cambrensis, April, 1903. 


See p;i};e 265 for tlcscriplion of SliU-ld. 


Set p.ii^c 151. 

I'fo /aa- /'„!<c- 19. 


The original charter founding the Abbey of Mar- 
gam is not extant, but its text is preserved to us in an 
Inspeximus by Edward le Despenser, Lord of Gla- 
morgan and Morgan wg, dated 13 July, a.d. 1358 
(C. MCLXXXIIl), of an Inspeximus by Hugh le 
Despenser, dated a.d. 1338, Oct. 9, T. 212 B 
(C. MCLI). The words here preserved of the 
original charter of Robert, Earl of Gloucester, 
bring to our knowledge that a Hermitage stood near 
the mouth of the Afan river on the east side at the 
date of the foundation of the abbey, a.d. 1147. The 
latest mention of the Hermitage in the Margam MSS. 
is found in a charter by Richard, Earl of Gloucester, 
between a.d. 1246 and a.d. 1249. After this date 
no mention is made of it in any of the MSS. The 
reason of this disappearance is probably given us by 
another abbey document dated 2 April, a.d. 1336, 
T. 211 (C. MCXLHI). In this it is related that 
the Abbot of Margam, ^ in obedience to the mandate 
of the Apostolic See and the Abbot of Clairvaux, 
the mother house, drew up a detailed account of the 
abbey's possessions, and following the list of the 
granges in the document, the abbot adds a com- 
plaint of the losses by mortality, wars, nearness of 
the abbey to the high-road, and the expense caused 
thereby through the entertainment of rich and poor 
who sought shelter and hospitality in the abbey, and 
that no small part of the land adjacent to the shore 
was subject to the inundation of the sea — doubtless 
meaning the sand-invasion and abnormal tides. 

' Margam was called Margan, or Morgan, until the reign of 
Henry VIII. 


In response Pope Urban VI. issued a BulP 
T. 236 (C. MCCII) addressed to the Bishop of 
Llandaff sanctioning the appropriation of the patron- 
age of the Church of Afan, Aberavon, by the abbey 
because, among- other things, the Bull states the abbey 
lands adjacent to the shore had become unfruitful 
owing to the inroads of the sea. Dated 17 July, 
A.D. 1383. For the same reason, and by Papal 
authority, Penllyn Church was also appropriated. 

In the Rev. J. D. Davies' "West Gower " a 
tradition is mentioned which would show that a 
great sand-invasion took place about a.d. 131 7. 
A grant dated June, a.d. 131 7, is in existence; by 
it Sir William de Breos, Lord of the Seignory of 
Gower, gives liberty to his huntsman William and 
Joan his wife to take hares, rabbits, and foxes in 
the sand-burrows of Pennard. Mr. Davies remarks 
on this : " Here then, we have indisputable evi- 
dence that in a.d. 13 17, Pennard burrows existed 
as a fact. The tradition is that it was formed by a 
terrible storm, all in one night, and . . . the conclu- 
sion is almost irresistible that both these burrows, 
Pennard and Penmaen, were formed at the same time, 
and the Church and village of Stedworlango were 
overwhelmed when the sand-storm occurred, and con- 
sequently the besanding of these two Churches (Pen- 
nard and Penmaen) must have taken place previous to 
A.D. 1317." 

Here we have evidence of what took place not far 
from Kenfig about this time, and doubtless great 
progress was made by the sand-invasion at Kenfig 
^ So called from the leaden seal, or " bulla," attached. 


about the year a.d. 1300. It is also to be inferred, 
from the absence of any mention of the Hermitage 
of Theodoric in all documents after the dates I 
mentioned before — a.d. i 246-1 249 — that it fell a prey 
to the devouring sand between these dates and 
A.D. 1317. 

I quote from my paper on the Hermitage of Theo- 
doric : " It is interesting to discuss the question of the 
overwhelming of the buildings (the Hermitage) by the 
the sand-storms. Were they covered up slowly, or 
at once ? When I discovered the ruins, I was puzzled 
to know what part we were in, and later found we 
were in the upper storey. Dividing two of the 
room.s, I found a clay partition three inches thick, 
plastered with mortar on each side, still standing, 
supported by the sand, although the floor had dis- 
appeared. This seems to me to prove that the sand 
enveloped the building quickly ; otherwise, if the sand 
took a considerable time to reach the upper storey, 
this fragile partition would have crumbled and fallen 
by the action of the wind and rain, to which it would 
soon be exposed after the buildings were abandoned." 
Looking- through the Ministers' Accounts in the 
Record Office recently, I noticed in one document 
mention of a field being destroyed by the sea about 
this period at Kenfig. 

This is a return by John Giffard de Brymmesfeld, 
" custodis terrarum et tenementorum que fuerunt 
Gilberti de Clare Comitis Gloucestrie et Hertfordie de- 
functi in manu domini Regis existentium in Glamorgan 
et Morgannoc de exitibus eorundem a xx° die Aprilis 
anno Regis Edwardi nono usque xxix" diem Sep- 


tembris proxime sequentem." This is the account 
rendered in the ninth year of Edward II., not, as the 
heading would lead one to suppose, in the ninth year 
of Edward I. The endorsement, too, shows it to be 
Edward II., as he is there, as usually, styled "Regis 
Edwardi filii Regis Edwardi." I very nearly followed 
one writer who places the date of the document 
April 20, 1 281. John Giffard de Brymmesfeld, called 
" Le Rych," had charge of the castles and lands of 
the lordship of Glamorgan and Morganwg on the 
death of Gilbert de Clare, eighth Earl of Gloucester 
and tenth and last Earl of Clare, on the 23 June, a.d. 
1 3 14, at the battle of Bannockburn ; the lordship of 
Glamorgan falling into the hands of the King. This 
account of Brymmesfeld is from 20 April to the 
29 September, 13 16. That this date is right is also 
proved by a reference to the account of Bartholomew 
de Badlesmere, who had charge in a.d. 1314. 

Under the head of Villa de Kenefeg cum Castro is 
the entry in the " compotus " : — 

{a) " Exitus Manerii. Idem respondet de ijs. vjd. 
receptis de quadam pastura que vocatur ' Conynger ' 
vendita per idem tempus et ideo minus quia sub- 
mersa per mare in magna parte." 

((5) " Issues of the Manor. The same answers for 
2 shillings and 6 pence received from a certain pasture 
which is called ' Conynger ' sold for the same time, 
and there is less because the great part is drowned 
by the sea." 

In the return made by Bartholomew de Badles- 
mere in the year a.d. 13 14, when he was in charge of 
the castles and lands of the late Earl of Gloucester, 


he received 12 pence for pastura cuniculorum, or 
" the Conies' Pasture." This is the pasture called 
" Conynger " in the return made by John Giffard 
de Brymmesfeld two years after, namely, a.d. 13 16. 

The account is for one quarter of the year, so the 
rent for the year would be 4 shillings. But the 
account goes on, and for 2/6 received for pasture sold 
in the same place (namely, in the Conynger, or 
Conies' Pasture). 

In 1314, therefore, the pasture yielded 12 pence and 
2/6 in the quarter of the year, or 14/- for the year. In 
the year 13 16, owing to the inroad of the sand, the 
yield for the half-year was only 2/6 or 5/- for the year. 

Conyger is meant by Conynger. In Wright's 
" English Dialect Dictionary " is given Conyger, 
also spelt conieger, conigar, conigre — a rabbit-warren, 
coney-garth. Old French conniniere — a rabbit-warren. 

The accounts of the two officials in charge of the 
late earl's property are important, in that they show 
that between September of 13 14 and April, 13 16, a 
great storm had covered the pasture called Conyger 
to the extent of one-half. 

I can well imagine what the Conyger was like : a 
large, wind-swept, open grass-plain with rabbit-burrows 
here and there, close upon the marge of the Severn 
sea, similar to the fields along the sea-shore at Sker ; 
probably the resort of the inhabitants of Kenfig for 
recreation and sweet sea-breezes from off the 

Invasions of sand are often referred to in the 
ancient MSS. as inundations of, or drownings by, 
the sea. 


Here, then, we have one of the earliest actual 
records of the besanding of land at Kenfig. 

It is interesting to note, although it may not prove 
much, that Hugh le Despenser, Lord of Glamorgan 
and Morganwg, granted, T. 220 (C. MCLXVII) to 
Margam Abbey a free warren in his rabbit-warren or 
cuniculary in the Berwes, or burrows, between the 
Rivers Avene and Kenfig, on the west as far as the 
sea, and as the highway extends from the town of 
Avene to the town of Kenfig on the east. Feb. 16, 
A.D. 1344. It shows that the sands had by that time 
become so extensive as to become an important 
breeding-place for rabbits. This besanding took 
place apparently at about the same time in other 
parts. The learned historian, Abbot Gasquet, writing 
to me, says, "Your discovery of the ancient hermitage 
buried in the sand is most interesting. It reminds 
me of the discovery of the complete church of Soulac, 
near Bordeaux, which had been likewise buried for 

I had at that time, a.d. 1898, discovered the ruins of 
the Hermitage of Theodoric ^ on the spot indicated in 

^ I thought the Hermitage (see " Hermitage of Theodoric and 
Site of Pendar," Arch. Cainb.^ 1903) might have been founded 
by Theodoric, nephew of Sir Richard de Gi"anavilla. I had but 
slender grounds for this idea, and I now have changed my 
mind. Looking through a " History of Heroes in Welsh 
Pedigrees " in the British Museum, I read that *' Teithvach ap 
Kynan King of Glamorgan had a son Theodor who became 
King of Glamorgan and a Saint. The Register of the Church 
of Llandaff saith that St. Theodoric ap Teithvach King of 
Glamorgan lived about the time that Vortiper or Gwrthcfir was 
King of Britain (a.d. 460-470). That having war with the 
Saxons was always Victorious in Battle till at length tired with 


the charters of Margam Abbey ; the foundation 
charter of Robert Earl of Gloucester mentions it, so 
that the Hermitage existed before the Abbey. 

In the same Minister's Account we find damage 
was done to lands at Neath. Under the head Manor 
of Neath, we find the entry : — 

" Issues of the Manor : — 

" Meadows there, nothing for the same time, be- 
cause they were drowned by the sea, except fifteen 
acres that were mown to get hay for the constables' 

war he exchanged his crown for a Hermitage and Resigned his 
Royall Dignity to his son Meuric, upon which the Saxons 
miserably destroying his Country his People compelled him to 
quit his Desart to be their Generall whereupon Incouraged by 
an Angel with the promise of a Crown of Martyr Dom, being 
full of Divine zeale, he encountered the Infidell Enimies at 
Tintern by the River Wye in Monmouthshire totally overthrew 
them, but having received a dangerous wound in the Battle and 
perceiving it to be Mortall ordered his returne home and charged 
his son Meuric that in what place so ever he died he should 
there build a Church to God and Bury him and having not past 
aboue five miles, yielded his Blessed Soule to God at the meet- 
ing of the Rivers Wye and Severne where his son accordingly 
built a church and buried him, therefore called by his name 
Merthyr Tudoric, now by corruption Merthyrn or the Church 
of St. Theodor Martir." The church is now called Matherne or 
St. Theodoric. 

I believe the Hermitage of Theodoric was where St. Theo- 
doric, King of Glamorgan, retired upon resigning his royal 
dignity, and it was certainly situated at that time in a '* Desart," 
a desert here meaning a lonely place such as hermits sought. 
Of course this must remain a conjecture, but there are good 
grounds for the idea. Here we have the Hermitage of 
Theodoric situated in a most weird and lonely spot, and we 
have the fact of St. Theodoric retiring to a hermitage ; it is 
surely not necessary to look elsewhere for the place he retired 
to and erected his cell. 


horses for the same time, and for the sheriffs horses 
against his coming for holding the Court . . . nil." 

In the same document are mentioned the names of 
two o^ranores, under the head of Kenefes: with the 
Castle ; I am unable to locate them. The entry 
is : — 

" The same answers for £^ 6sh. 8d. from the farm 
of the granges of Pennth moyl and Portreveshavok, 
given to the Abbot of Morgan in fee-farm by the 
ancestors of the Earl (of Clare) and of the farm of 
two mills there for the same time. The mills may 
be Llanmihangel and the Pandy." 

Mr. Clark writes these granges Pennch moil and 
Portreveshanok, but I came to the conclusion, after 
careful examination of the original document, they 
are Pennth Moyl and Portreveshavok ; and although 
they are given under the heading of Kenefeg, I was 
inclined to think Pennth Moyl referred to Penhydd 
and Portreveshavok to Hafod-y-porth.^ 

The mists of ages are almost as impenetrable as 
the sands hiding the town of Kenfig, and I can only 
hope to enable you to peer into the past by intervals. 
First, then, we have this stormy period of about 

^ Since I wrote the above I have seen the account rendered 
by Bartholomew de Badlesmere. In Badlesniere's account 
the granges are given as Penuth Moyl and Portreueshauok. 

Although they are returned for in the same account as in 
Kenfig, I have no doubt these granges are Penh5^dd, Moel Gallt- 
y-Cwm, and Hafod-y-Porth. Therefore they have no connec- 
tion with Kenfig. 

The two mills are the Dyffryn Mill and the fulling mill at 
Farteg, near Bryn, the latter long since disused. The former, 
a grist-mill for a very long period, is now a woollen 


A. D, 1300. After a long interval the immortal anti- 
quary, John Leland, comes by, and in his quaint 
language and odd spelling gives us a glimpse behind 
the curtain of time of Kenfig as he saw it three 
hundred and sixty-eight years ago, for he was there in 
A.D. 1538 or 1539. His account proves the tradition 
that Kenfig was besanded in Elizabeth's time to be 
wrong. Leland writes thus in his "Itinerary": — 

" From Newton to Kenfike Ryver a VI. miles, of 
these VI. miles 3. be higgh Cliffes on the shore : the 
other low shore and sandy Grounde. For the Rages 
of Severn Se castith ther up much Sand. 

" I hard one say that this Kenjik water is caullid 
Colebroke.i There is a Manor Place caullid Sker 2, 
2 miles 2 from the shore wher dwellith one Richard 
Loughor a Gentilman. 

" There is good Corne and Gresse but little Wod 
by 3. or 4. Miles from Newton towards Kenjik on the 
shore. Kenlike is a smaull Broke and cummith by 
estimation not past a 3. Miles of out of the Mores 
there about." 3 

Here follows the important part : — 

" There is a village on the Est side of Kenjik, and 
a Castel, booth in Ruines and almost shokid and 
devourid with the Sandes that the Severn Se ther 
castith up. 

''Kenjik was in the Clares time a Borow Toun. 

' A small stream which flows from Hirwaun in Margam and 
falls into the Kenfig river a quarter of a mile north of Kenfig 
Church. Leland was wrongly informed. 

^ This may mean two miles further on the shore. 

3 Kenfig river is eight miles from source to sea. 


It standith a litle within the mouth of Kenfik 

''Morgan Abbey and Village standith a 2. Miles of 
by North Este. 

"From Kenfik to Aber Avon a 2. Miles by low 
Shore, parte Morisch and sandy with the Rages of 

Leland seems to have been much impressed by the 
angry Severn Sea. Here, then, we see what Kenfig 
was like three hundred and sixty-eight years ago ; 
ruin had already overtaken the town and castle, and 
both were almost choked and devoured with sand. 

I use the modern spelling Kenfig for obvious 
reasons. Kenfig to-day is not known to us as 
Cenffig ; further on I will give the derivation of 
the word Cenffig. 

In the Kenfig Ordinance, which I will give later, 
we find a clause which was added in a.u. 1572, by 
which the burgesses agreed to inclosing, parking, and 
ditching part of the free common of Kefncribor, Cefn 
Cribwr, "because," the clause runs, "wee have and 
yett doe yearly fall in arrearages and losses the which 
is to the portreeves great charges by reason of the 
overthrow blowing and choaking up of sand in drown- 
ing of our Town and Church [italics are mine] with 
a number of acres of free land besides the burgages of 
ground within the said libertys except three for the 
which burgesses so lost by the overthrow Yett never- 
theless the rent thereof, is and hath allways been paid 
to the lords receivers, to the portreeves great loss and 
hindrance yearly in making of auditt." 

This was not long after Leland had seen Kenfig. 


But we have evidence of the state of things 122 years 
later. In the Survey and Presentment of a.d. 1660, 
which will be given further on, the jury of burgesses, in 
describing " the Lordship, Manor, Town and Burrough 
of Kenffig," state : " They also present and say that 
severall of the free tenants have lost their freehold 
(time out of mind) by reason of the choaking blowing 
and over-blowing up of the sands what number of 
years they know not." 

In another clause they state : — 

"To the 13th article they say that they are not 
certain what messuages or dwelling houses were and 
are within the said burrough or corporation by reason 
that the sands had overcomed (time out of mind) a 
great number of dwelling houses within the said 
burrough and town." 

The late Mr. J. Rowland Phillips, in his " History of 
Glamorgan," writes, "that at Kenfig, for instance, a 
great tract of land had been swept away and rendered 
waste by repeated sand-storms of unusual magnitude. 
The first of which there is any account was a great 
storm in the time of Richard II., when an unprece- 
dented high tide, swollen and infuriated by a great 
wind, devastated the shore, carrying away lands and 
houses and leaving in their places nothing but sand- 

This storm was preceded by others as disastrous, 
such as the inundations of the sea referred to by 
the Abbot of Margam, with the result, as we have 
seen, that the advowson of Aberavon, and later of 
other churches, was given to the Abbey. 

We find in the Margam Abbey documents indirect 


evidence of the progress of the sand-fiend. For some 
time I could not understand no mention being made, 
in the Margam MSS., of the present main-road which 
passes through Pyle. The grant of Thomas Gramus, 
referred to later, for instance. He grants to Margam 
Abbey three acres of land in the culture of Deumay ^ 
from Goylake stream - (Afon Fach now) to the road 
leading from Kenefeg to Catteputte, Pwll-y-gath ; 
this road crosses the present main-road at Pyle ; had 
the main-road been in existence at the time of this 
deed, circa a.d. 1258, it would have been mentioned. 

And so it is in several instances. Thomas 
Gramus' land is described as being between Goylake 
on the south and Longland on the north, but the 
main-road which now passes through this land is 
not mentioned. The only road mentioned in the 
MSS., as leading to Margam is that from Pwll-y- 
gath, which crosses the Kenfig river at Rhyd Yorath 
Goch, Yorath Goch's Ford, near Longland. Yorath 
Goch 3 was the owner of the land between Pwll-y-gath 
and the Gramus land on the west. 

The main highway at that time was, it is clear, the 
Heol-y-troedwyr and the Heol-y-sheet, the ancient 
Roman road, and the present turnpike road passing 
through Pyle was not constructed. In the Margam 
MSS., the Roman road is termed the Via Regalis, 
the high way or royal way. 

' Culture of Deumay, that is, the arable land of Deumay. 
This is the land which lies between the Goylake and the road 
leading from Keniig to Pyle. 

2 Goylake — lake means a river or stream. If the monk could 
have written in Welsh he would have written Gwyll-lake, or dark 
stream. 3 Yorath Goch, Red Yorath. 


It is interesting to note that there was a bridge 
over the Kenfig river on this highway as early as 
A.D. 1245. The bridge is known as Pont Felin 
Newydd, or New Mill bridge. Thomas Gramus, by 
a deed T 289.45 (C DCCCCXXIV) gives to God 
and to Blessed Mary of Margam — the Abbey is 
dedicated to St. Mary — with the advice and consent 
of his father, Roger Gramus, and his wife and heirs 
one acre of his land near the high-way, the Via 
Regalis, which road leads from the bridge of the river 
of Kenefeg to the Goylake river. The monks gave 
him twenty shillings for charity. 

This bridge over the Kenfig river was probably 
Roman. The whole has now been replaced by an 
iron structure. 

We must bear in mind, as 1 remarked before, that 
this road was the highway between Cardiff and 
Swansea, but owing to the invasion of the sand, it 
had, at one time, to be abandoned, or at any rate, 
the traffic was perhaps maintained with difficulty. A 
new piece of road was therefore decided on further 
inland, and was constructed between Stormy Down 
and Cwrt-y-defaid at Margam, a length of about four 

The old road, we have seen by the grant of Hugh 
le Despenser, was in use as late as a.d. 1344 (see 
page 24) ; the grant of the rabbit-warren, west of the 
king's way. Via Regalis, from Aberavon to Kenfig 

We have no knowledge of the date of the deviation 
of the main highway, but it can be fixed approximately 
by the date of the building of Pyle Church, which is 


stated in a Margam Abbey deed to have been 
"newly erected" in a.d. 1485. The church would 
not be built before the new road was made ; if 
the church was built, say, in a.d. 1480, probably 
the road was constructed some time before this date. 
This deed will be referred to in the part dealing with 
the churches. 

The drift-sand, when it eventually reached the main 
road, Heol-y-sheet, the Roman road, must have caused 
considerable difficulty in keeping it free for passage. 
At each storm the sand would be driven on to and 
over it, and I have seen a similar case when three 
or four feet of sand would be piled on a railway in 
a single night. Although the open road lying between 
Pont Felin Newydd, past the Groes-y-dadl and the 
point where the lane begins near the bend of the Afon 
Fach, is close upon two miles from the sea, the sand 
passed over it and beyond it at one point, six hundred 
yards, completing the two miles from high-water 

It is extraordinary that this piece of road, of a little 
over half a mile in length, should have had to fight for 
its existence so far from the sea. 

Any one who has seen and felt, as I have, the drift- 
sand carried by a furious gale, stinging the face and 
compelling the traveller to blunder on with almost 
closed eyes, can imagine the difficulty experienced 
in traversing this road in a time of strong winds. 

Planting the Amniophila arundinacea is always a cure 
for the moving of drift-sand, and it is probable this 
method was attempted in those days; but the great in- 
road of the sand at this point seems to have been driven 



with such fury as to defy planting and to render it 
of no avail, successful as it is with slower movements 
of the sand-drift. 

The great devastation caused by these sand-storms 
aroused the attention of the authorities, and I am able, 
by the kindness of Mr. Ivor Bowen, barrister-at-law, 
to refer to an Act of Parliament passed touching the 
matter. The Act was passed in a.d. 1554, sixteen 
years after Leland found Kenfig town and castle 
almost " shokid " with sand. The Act mentions *' The 
great nuisance and losses that cometh and chanceth 
to the Queen's Highness and her Subjects by reason 
of Sand rising out of the Sea and driven to Land by 
Storms and Winds, whereby much good Ground lying 
on the Sea coasts in Sundry Places of this Realm and 
especially in the County of Glamorgan, be covered 
with such Sand rising out of the Sea that there 
cometh no Profit of the same, to the great loss of 
the Queen's Highness and her loving Subjects, and 
more is like to ensue if speedy Remedy be not 
therein provided." The Commissioners of Sewers 
were given additional powers and authority to deal 
with the matter. I 

Mawdlam, so called from the Church of St. Mary 
Magdalene, and the few scattered houses of Ton 
Kenfig lie to the south and east of the site of the 
ancient town; the Prince of Wales Inn, which had 
in recent years become the town-hall of the borough, 
being half a mile away. 

These houses lie along the ridge above Kenfig 

^ "The Statutes of Wales," Ivor Bowen, barrister-at-law 
(T. Fisher Unwin). Also in " West Gower," Rev. J. D. Davies. 



Pool, originally a marsh, drained to some extent by 
a stream which flowed, according to an ancient deed, 
northward into the Kenfig river, and no doubt have 
contributed to the idea that Kenfig is derived from 
Cefn-y-figgen, the ridge above the swamp. It is 
not so, for the ancient town stood on the flat ground 
at the head of the swamp near the castle and river, 
and so the true name is Cen-y-ffig,^ the head of the 

The waters of the marsh in course of time became 
ponded up by the drift-sand, and resulted in the 
considerable lake it now is. I believe the surplus 
water still finds its way under the sand, and its 
outfall into the Kenfig river may be the Ffynnon 
Llygad, near the western part of the castle-moat. 

There is no doubt about the site of the town of 
Kenfig ; for Leland, who actually saw it, clearly 
indicates the position. He says : — 

"It standith a little within the mouth q>{ Kenfik 

The following extract from a manuscript of about 
A.D. 1678, "The Manors of the Earl of Penbrock in 
Glamorgan," shows how the present village came to 
bear the status and name of Kenfig : — 

" The borough of Kynfigge Sir Robert Fitz Hamon 
kept in his own hands, and builded a castle there, and 
used the same as one of his dwelling-houses. How- 


' " Ceil " and " pen " are, I believe, synonymous. The 
spelling of name in the Abbey deeds is almost invariably 
Kenefeg, phonetically rendered by the Norman scribe, there- 
fore the name formerly was Cen-y-ffig, shortened to Cenffig. 
Ff. in Welsh = English /. 



beit, in a short time, both the town and castle were 
drowned by the sand of the Sea, and there remaineth 
but out cottages bearing the name of the borough of 
Kynfigge, which hath the whole liberties yet remain- 
ing as the town formerly had : saving that the weekly 
markets and annual faires are lost. The King's 
Majesty is patron of the Church there. Kynfigge 
river springeth in Ceven Cribwr, and runneth to 
Pile, and so under Kynfigge Castle to the sea of 

As I have said, the town and the church of St. James 
have disappeared, and Morgan Gam, or Morgan the 
crooked, lord of Afan, son of Morgan ap Caradoc, 
would rub his eyes could he come to life again, and 
wonder what had become of the town he did his 
best to destroy seven hundred years ago. 


TWO figures loom large In the dim mist of ages 
which cover the past of Kenfig, and much of the 
glamour which attaches to the place would be missing 
without them. They are lestyn ap Gwrgan and 
Sir Robert Fitzhamon, the former the Prince of 
Glamorgan, the latter the Norman knight and con- 
queror of Gwrgan's lordship of Glamorgan. 

Prince lestyn was the hereditary and rightful ruler 
of these parts, the descendant of a long and princely 
line. But, unlike his noble father, he was a wicked 
and cruel prince, and he incurred the hatred of his 
countrymen. His advent to power is thus related 
in the " Brut y Tywysogion," the Chronicle of the 
Princes : — 

" The same year (a.d. 1043) Hywel, Lord of Gla- 
morgan, died at the age of 130 years. He was the 
wisest prince in Wales, and the most beloved by every 
one of his tribe ; and he loved peace and equity. And 
lestin, son of Gwrgan, was placed in his room ; and he 
was the worst prince ever seen in Wales, and loved 
neither peace nor equity ; and he did nothing but what 

caused molestation and spoliation to his country and 



nation ; on which account no wise or orderly person 
assisted him when he was opposed." 

Of course, a man of this character would be open to 
attack from others desiring to reign in his stead, and 
this actually came to pass. It is stated by Welsh 
chroniclers that Kenfig Castle was one of lestyn's 
residences. By others Kenfig Castle is said to have 
been built by Sir Robert Fitzhamon. I believe the 
castle, and probably the town, owes its origin to lestyn. 
Caradoc i^Myv. Arch. II.) goes further still, and says 
that lestyn, notwithstanding his incessant wars, rebuilt 
the castles of Kenfig and Boverton. 

Still, with all his faults, lestyn ap Gwrgan is a 
pathetic figure. Glamorgan comprised the country 
between the Rivers Usk and Neath and between 
the sea on the south and the Black Mountains on the 
north, so lestyn ruled over a large and important 
territory, but he lost all and died a monk in Keynsham 
Monastery, near Bath. Sir Edward Mansell, writing 
in A.D. 1 59 1 , says that '* lestyn turned monk in Kensam 
Priory where he lived not giving out who he was till 
the time of his death when he discovered all, now 
being 129 years old." 

The story of the conquest of Glamorgan has long 
been accepted, but it is probable, as Mr. Clark says, 
that the invasion by the Normans was part of a settled 
policy for completing the English conquest. This 
policy was undertaken by Fitzhamon, while other 
adventurers at the same time were taking possession of 
Monmouth, Brecknock, and South-West Wales. 

At the risk of wearying some of my readers, who 
have read the story from my previous papers and 


from other works, I must briefly give an account of 
Fitzhamon's coming to our county. It is probably 
fabulous, but it is interesting and there may be in it 
some substratum of truth. 

In A.D. 1088 Cadivor, the son of Colwyn, Lord 
of Dyvet,^ died, and his sons Llewelyn and Einon 
moved Gruffyd, son of Meredydd, to make war 
against Prince Rhys ap Tewdwr. But Rhys put 
them to flight, killing Gruffydd. Einon fled to lestyn, 
Lord of Glamorgan, who likewise was in rebellion 
against Tewdwr, and promised he would on certain 
conditions marry lestyn's daughter. Einon having 
been in England, and knowing the English nobility, 
proposed to lestyn that the aid of the Normans should 
be sought against Rhys. So Einon went to England 
and was the means of bringing into Glamorgan Sir 
Robert Fitzhamon and twelve Norman knights with 
a large army [a.d. 1090]. The Norman army, and 
lestyn's, burned and spoiled Rhys's land, and destroyed 
his people. Rhys fought them at Bryn-y-beddau, near 
Hirwain,2 ^nd in the terrible battle he was slain. 3 

Mathew Paris, ^ in his quaint language, shall give 
you the sequel : — 

" These Normanes, after they had received their 
promised Salarie and great rewardesof Jestyn, returned 

^ Dyved, the land between the Rivers Teivy and the Towy, 
or the present county of Pembroke and part of Caermarthen- 
shire ; the south-western part of Wales. 

2 Hirwuen Wrgan, Gwrgan's Long Meadow. 

3 " Historie of Cambria, translated into English by H. Lloyd, 
gentleman, a.d. 1584." 

4 Mathew Pans was a monk of the Monastery of St. Albans, 
circa 1217-1250. His great work is the " Chronica Majora." 


to their ships. When Eneon burthened Jestyn with 
the promise of his daughter in marriage, Jestyn laughed 
him to scorn and told him he would bestow his 
daughter otherwise ; whereupon Eneon, full of anger 
and despite, followed the Normanes. And when he 
came to the shoare, they were all a shipboard : then he 
shouted to them, and made a signe with his cloake to 
call them back, and they turned again to know his 
meaning. Then he went to the chiefest of them, and 
shewed of his abuse at Jestyn's hands : declaring 
withall, how easie it was for them to winne that faire 
and pleasant countrie from Jestyn, whome for his 
treason to Rees none other than Prince of Wales would 
succour; whereupon they were easilie persuaded, and 
so ungratefullie turned all their power against him, in 
whose defense they had come thither, and at whose 
hands they had been well entertained, and recompensed 
with rich gifts and great rewards. And first they 
spoiled him of his countrie, who mistrusted them not, 
and tooke all the fertile and valey ground to themselves, 
and left the barren and rough mountains to Eneon for 
his part." 

Prince Rhys, as we have seen, was killed ; Goronwy, 
his son, was also killed, and Cynan, another son, was 
drowned in the marshy bog called Pwll Cynan, on 
Crymlyn^ Burrows, between Briton Ferry and Swan- 

The Normans are said to have been paid for their 

services at y Filldir-aur, the " Golden-mile," near 

Bridgend ; but, as is related, Einon brought them 

back. To Einon was given the lordship of Seinghen- 

^ Crymlyn, perhaps the curved lake. 


nydd, but he ever after retained the name of Einon-y- 
bradwr, Einon the traitor. 

lestyn, in one account,^ is accused of rebellion against 
Rhys ap Tewdwr, Prince of Deheubarth, but the 
charge of rebellion is untrue ; for Morganwg was never 
included in the dominion of Deheubarth.- On the 
contrary, Caradoc and other writers mention it as an 
independent state throughout the whole of its history. 
Morgannwg has also been identified as the Essyllwg 
of remote antiquity, which, on some occasions of 
imminent danger, gave war-kings, Catteyrn, to the 
whole British confederation. 

Rees Meyrick, in his " Morgania Archaiographia," 
written in a.d. 1578, says the war "sprang of the 
unsatiable desire of Rice ap Tewdwr to Justin's wife, 
and not for any title of subjection, as some lately of 
misreport affirmed." 

The descendants of lestyn were well treated, and 
were the only Welsh nobles who possessed lands in 
the lowlands of Glamorgan. To Caradoc, son of lestyn, 
was granted the lordship of Margam, or Morgan, which 
comprised the lands from Crymlyn to Ogmore. It has 
been erroneously stated that Caradoc's lordship was 
confined to the district between the Rivers Afan and 
Neath. But we find from the Margam MSS., that the 
lords of Afan owned lands between the Afan and the 
Ogmore ; lands at Newcastle, Bridgend, and Laleston 
being frequently mentioned. Sir Edward Mansel 

» lolo M. 3, in substance. 

= Deheubarth, " the south part," comprised the district of 
the Towy ; part of the present counties of Caermarthen and 


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wrote, circa a.d. 1591 : "Some say that it was the 
lordship of Morgan or Margam which then consisted 
of the Country from Cremlyn to Ogwye and was the 
largest of all the lordships which Caradoc had with a 
deed securing to him the Principality of Glamorgan 
after his, lestyn's, death." 

Although the history of Kenfig begins with the 
Norman Conquest it is far older. 

Mr. Clark, in his " The Kenfig Charters," says : — 

" Kenfig is reputed by the Welsh to have been a 
private possession of Jestyn ap Gwrgan, which is 
exceedingly probable, seeing that in the general settle- 
ment it was reserved by the Earls of Gloucester, 
Lords of Glamorgan, as their private demesne ; and 
was by them, at a very early period, erected into 
a borough together with Cardiff, Cowbridge, Neath, 
Avan, and Llantrisant. A Castle was, in those 
days, a necessary adjunct to a borough town, and at 
Kenfig a castle was accordingly built. The Register 
of Neath Abbey cited by Sir E. Stradling attributes 
the Castle to William, son of Robert the Consul, who 
died in 1183. Rees Meyrick says he also built here 
' a town for merchandize upon the sea bank.' " 

William the Earl only re-built the town, for Meyrick 
says re-built. 

The earliest mention of Kenfig which I have found 
is in the " Brut y Tywysogion," the Chronicle of the 
Princes : — 

" Oed Crist 893, y daeth y Paganiad duon i Gymru 
dros for Hafren ac a losgasant Llanelltyd fawr, a 
Chynffig, a Llangarvan, ac a wnaethant ddrygau 
mawrion yn Morganwg, a Gwent, a Brecheiniawc, a 


Buellt, ac ar eu gwaith yn dychwelyd yng Ngwaunllwg, 
a nhwy yn anrheithiaw Caerllion ar Wysg y daeth 
Morgan tywysawg M organ wg a chad yn eu herbyn, 
au gyrru tros for i wlad yr Haf lie y lladdwyd 
llawer o honynt gan y Saeson a Bryttaniaid y wlad 

(" The black Pagans came to Wales over the Severn 
Sea, and burnt Llanelltyd the great and Chynffig and 
Llangarvan ; and did great damage in Glamorgan and 
Gwent and Brecknock and Buellt ; and during their 
return through Gwentllwg, while ravaging Caerleon 
upon Usk, Morgan prince of Glamorgan, fought a 
battle with them, and drove them over sea to the 
Summer Country (Somersetshire) where many of 
them were killed by the Saxons and Britons of that 

The black Pagans were apparently the Danes. I 
may mention that a small camp made by a Danish 
army exists in Cwm Philip behind Margam Park. 

Here, therefore, we find Kenfig mentioned 254 
years before William, Earl of Gloucester, succeeded 
his father. 

Interesting events followed the coming of Fitzhamon 
into these parts, as we shall see. Some account, there- 
fore, of this prominent man who became the possessor 
of Kenfig is necessary. 

Really not much is available as to his history, and 
Mr. Clark, in his " Land of Morgan," writes : " It is 
singular that of so notable a man as Fitzhamon so little 


should be known." 

Sir Robert Fitzhamon was the son of Hamo 
Dentatus, a great lord and kinsman of William the 


Conqueror, and descended from Rollo, first Scan- 
dinavian conqueror of Normandy.^ 

Sir Robert came to England in the train of William 
the Conqueror, and took part in the great conquest 
of this land, soon after himself to conquer our own 
county of Glamorgan. 

In the "Annals of Tewkesbury" we find it stated 
"Anno D. 1066 William, duke of the Normans gained 
England ; Robert, a young man, son of Haymon lord 
of Astreville in Normandy came to England with 
William the Conqueror." 2 

Sir Robert was count of Corbeil and baron of 
Thorigny and Granville. He was, like his father, a 
great soldier ; but what is of interest for us is the fact 
that after the winning of Glamorgan he retained for 

^ The curious genealogy as given in the Register of Tewkes- 
bury is as follows. Fitzhamon is stated in it to be the grandson 
of Hamo Dentatus, which is not correct. 

Rollo = Guisla 

William Longespee = 

Richard = 

Emma = K. Ethelred 

Maugerus = 

Robert = Ellen 

Edward the . . . = Harold 


Hamo Dentatus = 

William the 

De Hamon = 


bert Fitz-Hamon. 

"^ " An° D. 1066 Gulielmus dux Nermann, acquisivit Angliam. 
Robertus, juvenis, filius Haymonis domini de Astrevilla in Nor- 
mannia, venit in Angliam cum Gul. Conquestore" (Leland's 
" Itinerary " ). 


himself Kenfig Castle and territory, and Cardiff. It is 
clear that the Castle of Kenfig was in existence at this 
period, otherwise it could not be said that he retained 
it for himself. He also retained the lands called Tir 
larll, " the earl's land." It includes to-day two 
parishes, Llangynwyd, which adjoins Margam, and 
Bettws ; formerly Tir larll embraced a much larger 

Sir Robert Fitzhamon, after the conquest of Gla- 
morgan, styled himself, " by the grace of God, Prince 
of Glamorgan, Earl of Corbeil, Baron of Thorigny and 
Granville, Lord of Gloucester Bristow Tewkesbury 
and Cardiff, Conqueror of Wales, near kinsman to the 
King and Generall of his army in France." ^ 

We now find Kenfig in the possession of Fitzhamon 
the Norman, and the former owner, the Welshman 
lestyn ap Gwrgan, leading the contemplative life in 
Keynsham Priory, near Bath. 

Sir Robert had four daughters by his wife Sybil, 
daughter of Roger de Montgomery. The daughters 
were Cicely, who became Abbess of Shaftesbury ; 
Hawise, Abbess of Wilton ; Amice, who married the 
Earl of Bretagne ; and Mabel, the heiress. 

Fitzhamon, like many of the great landowners of 
his time, devoted large sums in benefactions to the 
Church. Thus, at the persuasion of his wife, he 
endowed Tewkesbury Abbey, which was founded by 
the Dukes of Mercia in a.d. 715, and he came to be 
regarded as its founder, this was in a.d. 1102. He 
built much of the existing Church of Tewkesbury, 
dedicating it to St. Mary. His descendants, lords of 
' Rees Meyrick. 


Glamorgan, were patrons of the Abbey and had a 
right of veto on the election of the abbots. 

One consequence of Fitzhamon's possession of 
Kenfig was that Tewkesbury Abbey came on the 
scene, and by gift of Sir Robert became possessed 
of lands at Kenfig, and so thereafter closely identified 
with the history of the town. We find in the 
Margam MSS. early references to the Abbey of 
Tewkesbury in connection with Kenfig. In a charter 
of King Edward I. he recites and confirms the several 
charters of King William II. and King Henry I. to 
the Abbey of Tewkesbury. That of William grants 
to the Monastery of St. Mary of Tewkesbury " these 
particulars following which Robert Fitz-Hamon and 
his tenants did give, to wit, . . . and the churches of 
Walls, with the lands, tithes, rents, and other things." 
Also Henry I., in another charter, grants churches 
and tithes in Cardiff and the " tithes of all the 
demesnes which Robert, son of Fitz-Hamon, held 
in Wales, and the tithes of all the barons' holding 
of Sir Robert Fitz-Hamon throughout all Wales." 

Sir Robert Fitzhamon met a soldier's death. He 
was wounded in the temple at the battle of Tinchebrai 
in France, and of this wound he died in the year 
A.D. 1 107, and was buried at Tewkesbury Abbey. 

Mabel, his heiress, now became the owner of Kenfig, 
among other possessions. She inherited the Honour 
of Gloucester, the Lordship of Glamorgan, her father's 
lands in that county and elsewhere, and, in addition, 
her uncle's lands in England and Normandy. 

As can be well imagined, she was much sought 
after in marriage. King Henry I., thinking she 


would be a suitable wife for his natural son Robert,^ 
conducted negotiations for the marriage himself, so 
Mr. Clark says. 

Womanlike, seeing no less a personage than the 
King sueing for her hand for his son, she became a 
little suspicious. Mabel told the King she was sought 
more for what she possessed than for herself, and that 
with such a heritage as hers she ought not to marry a 
lover unless he had two names — that is, a Christian 
name and a surname. 

The King admitted that and said his son should 
be named Robert le Fitz le Roy. Then, with an eye 
to the future, Mabel asked what their son is to be 
called. The King answered, " Robert Erie of 
Gloucestre hys name ssal be." 

Malmesbury says of the Countess Mabel, " She was 
a noble and excellent woman, a lady devoted to her 
husband and blest with a numerous progeny." 

The title of Earl of Gloucester was conferred on 
Robert after the marriage by the King, and by right 
of his wife Mabel he became lord of Glamorgan, and 
the lords of Glamorgan were little less than kings. 
The marriage is thought to have taken place in 
A.D. 1 1 17. 

Robert Earl of Gloucester was a great soldier, 
and took part with his father, King Henry I., in the 
battle of Brenneville in a.d. 1119, and was present at 
the taking of Byton Castle in a.d. 1122. Geoffrey of 
Monmouth dedicated to the Earl his translation from 
the British tongue into Latin of the " Ystoria Bren- 

' Earl Robert's mother is believed to have been Nest, 
daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, Lord of Deheubarth. 


hinedy Brytanyeit" — the "Historia Regum Britanniae." 
He writes : " To you, therefore, Robert, Earl of 
Gloucester, this work humbly sues for the favour 
of being corrected by your advice, that it may not 
be thought to be the poor offspring of Geoffrey 
of Monmouth, but when polished by your refined 
wit, and judgment, the production of him who had 
Henry the glorious King of England for his 
father, and in whom we see an accomplished scholar 
and philosopher, as well as a brave soldier, and 
expert commander ; so that Britain with joy 
acknowledge that in you she possesses another 

Such, then, was the husband of Mabel, Sir Robert 
Fitzhamon's heiress. 

One can understand that the Welsh could have 
no liking for Fitzhamon, the conqueror of their 
country ; but his son-in-law, not being associated 
with the conquest, stood on a different footing, 
and by his royal connection, great power, and con- 
ciliatory character, brought the Welsh to think well 
of him and to submit to his rule. 

I often wondered what, in the first place, induced 
Robert Earl of Gloucester and Mabel his wife to 
give Margam to the monks of Clairvaux. I am now 
able to show how it came to pass. 

" To Henry, King of England, a.d. 1132. 

"To the illustrious Henry, King of England, 
Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, that he may faithfully 
serve and humbly obey the King of Heaven in hi 
earthly kingdom. 

" There is in your land a property belonging to your 


Lord and mine, for which He preferred to die rather 
than it should be lost. This I have formed a plan for 
recovering, and am sending a party of my brave 
followers to seek, recover, and hold it with strong 
hand, if this does not displease you. And these 
scouts whom you see before you I have sent before- 
hand on this business to investigate wisely the state 
of things, and bring me faithful word again. Be so 
gracious as to assist them as messengers of your 
Lord, and in their persons fulfil your feudal duty to 
Him. I pray Him to render you, in return, happy 
and illustrious, to His honour, and to the salvation of 
your soul, to the safety and peace of your country, 
and to continue to you happiness and contentment 
to the end of your days." ^ 

The object of Bernard, the Abbot of Clairvaux, was 
to gain the sympathy and help of the King towards 
founding houses of the Cistercian Order in England. 
The monks sent by Bernard were received with 
honour by the King and the realm ; the Abbey of 
Rievaulx, in the province of York, was one result and 
the Abbey of Margam, fifteen years later, another. 

Henry I., to whom this charmingly metaphorical 
letter was written, was, as you will remember, the 
father of Robert Earl of Gloucester, and when the 
Kinsf received the monks Robert and his wife were 
probably present, and this gave them a preference 
for the Cistercians and created in them the desire to 
emulate the example of Mabel's father, who had 

' " Some letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux," 
selected by Francis Aidan Gasquet, Abbot President of the 
English Benedictines. 


largely endowed Tewkesbury Abbey, and of Sir 
Richard de Granville, her uncle, also, who founded 
Neath Abbey. 

And so the Earl and his wife gave Margam, 
part of her dower-land, to the monks of Clairvaux, 
and the Abbey was founded and the white-robed 
Cistercian monks came and settled here, and their 
successors held the lands for nearly four hundred 

Earl Robert also gave Ponte,^ Briton Ferry, and 
Sker to Neath Abbey. 

The charter conveying Margam to the monks is 
not extant, but the text is preserved to us in 
various other documents. On the back of a charter 
of King Henry III., notifying to his bailiffs and 
lieges that he has taken under his protection all 
men, lands, rents, and possessions of the monks on 
sea and land, is written the following : — 

" The Foundation Charter of Margam Abbey — a 
charter of Robert (of Caen) natural son of King 
Henry I. Consul or Earl of Gloucester, addressed 
to Robert Norreis his sheriff, and all his men, 
French, English, and Welsh, whereby he grants to 
the monks of Clairvaux i.e. the Cistercians, all the 
land between the Kenefeg and Aven streams, his 
fisheries of Aven, etc., for founding an Abbey, etc., 
by consent of Mabilia (daughter of Robert Fitz- 
Hamon Lord of Glamorgan) his Countess of whose 
inheritance the land forms part." 

This took place before a.d. 1147, for in that year 

^ Perhaps so called from the Latin ponio, a flat-bottomed 
boat such as would be used at the ferry. 



we find the entry in the " Annales de Margan " of 
the founding of the Abbey : — 

" MCLXLVII. Fundata est abbatia nostra quae 
dicitur Maroan et eodem anno comes Gloucestriae 
Robertus, qui earn fundavit, apud Bristollum obiit, 
pridie kal. Novembris." 

(" 1 147. Our abbey which is called Margan was 
founded, and in the same year Robert Earl of 
Gloucester who founded it died at Bristol 31 
October.") And so the pious founder died before 
the Abbey buildings rose and displayed their mag- 

Margam Abbey, thus endowed by Sir Robert 
Fitzhamon's daughter and her husband, and owning 
the lands adjoining the Kenfig river on the west, 
naturally soon became, with Tewkesbury Abbey, 
largely interested in Kenfig and acquired lands and 
tenements, in and about the town, the gifts of 
pious persons. 

Some brief account of the Cistercian monks who 
thus came to Margam, and in course of time 
became the owners of lands and tenements in 
Kenfig, may be of interest. 

The land, you will notice, was given to the monks 
of Clairvaux in France, and doubtless the first 
monks in Margam came from that Abbey. Clairvaux 
is 120 miles east-south-east of Paris on the river 

False statements as to the lives of the monks were 
so industriously taught at the period of the Reforma- 
tion that these ideas have been handed down almost 
to the present day. Thanks, however, to men like 


Abbot Gasquet, Mr. Thorold Rogers, and others, we 
in our day have opportunities for learning the truth 
reg^ardinof the monks. There were some monks 
who led dissolute lives, but it is now known they were 
comparatively few. 

Abbot Gasquet, although he writes with a Roman 
bias as regards the events which occurred in connec- 
tion with Henry VIII.'s quarrel with the Pope, on 
account of the latter refusing to allow him, the King, 
to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon, because 
he had awakened to the fact that she had been 
his brother's wife, is so fair and so accurate that I 
gladly quote from him. 

He says : " Two great and fruitful ideas were 
kept constantly before the mind of the nation by 
the existence of these monastic houses — the 
life of perpetual praise and the life of asso- 
ciated labour. Laborare et orare ^ was the familiar 
principle which animated the course of every well- 
conducted monastic house, and which was, so 
to speak, the conservation of the spiritual forces, 
whereby the energy of faithful work became inter- 
changeable with the energy of unremitting prayer. . . . 
To carry out this principle of perpetual praise with 
the utmost solemnity attainable was the first end of 
the monastic life. 

" But though the service of God was beyond all 
question, the prime object of monastic life, yet the 
more closely that life is examined the more clearly 
does it exhibit the element of associated labour. In 
the popular estimate current at the present day . . . 
^ " To work and to pray." 


it is not unusual to imagine that a monk, although 
possibly a pious, was at all events a very indolent 
personage, and that the utmost he accomplished 
was to mumble — he was always supposed to mumble 
— a good many more prayers than other people, and 
to live on the fat of the land. . . .^ 

A deeply read writer of modern times may here be 
quoted : " The monks were men of letters in the 
Middle Ages, the historians, the jurists, the philoso- 
phers, the physicians, the students of nature, the 
founders of schools, authors of chronicles, teachers of 
agriculture, fairly indulgent landlords and advocates of 
genuine dealing towards the peasantry." ^ 

The monks of Clairvaux were of the Cistercian 
order, who had left the Benedictines to found a more- 
austere rule than that of the Black Monks, as the 
Benedictines were called. Both orders were great 
landowners, the Cistercians being also farmers and 
farming their own lands ; this they did by the institu- 
tion oi fr aires conversi, or lay brethren. The various 
farms belonging to Margam Abbey were worked by 
these lay brethren. 

In course of time this system died out and the 
farms were let out to secular persons, at Margam 
from towards the end of the fifteenth century. 

The Cistercians were the only monks who had lay 
brethren attached to the monasteries ; all other orders 
had paid servants and officers. 

It was the possessions of the monastic houses in 

' " Henry VIII. and the English Monasteries," Abbot 

» Mr. Thorold Rogers. 


particular that to use the words of an old writer ^ were 
popularly regarded as " Oblations to the Lord " and 
" the patrimony of the poor to be bestowed accord- 
ingly " : The monks whereof " taught and preached 
the faith and good wor'ks and practised the same both 
in word and deed ; not only within the monasteries, 
but without." 

" They made such provision daily for the people 
that stood in need thereof, as sick, sore, lame, or 
otherwise impotent, that none or very few lacked 
relief in one place or another. Yea, many of them, 
whose revenues were sufficient thereto made hospitals 
and lodgings within their own houses \i.e., the monastic 
houses,] wherein they kept a number of impotent 
persons with all necessaries for them, with persons 
to attend upon them, besides the great alms they gave 
daily at their gates to every one that came for it. 
Yea, no wayfaring person could depart without a 
night's lodging, meat, drink, and money ; it not being 
demanded, from whence he or she came, and whither 
he would go. 

" They taught the unlearned that was put to them 
to be taught ; yea the poor as well as the rich, with- 
out demanding anything for their labour, other than 
what the rich parents were willing to give them of 
mere devotion. 

'* There was no person that came to them heavy 
or sad for any cause that went away comfortless. 
They never revenged them of any injury, but were 
contented to forgive it freely on submission. And if 

^ B.Mus. Cole MS. XII. Written 1591 by one who remem- 
bered the ancient days. 


the price of corn had begun to start up in the markets 
they made thereunto with wainloads of corn and sold 
it under the market price to poor people to the end 
to bring down the price thereof. If the highways, 
bridges, or causeways were tedious to the passengers 
that sought their living by their travel, their great help 
lacked not towards the repair and amending thereof : 
yea, often times they amended them on their own 
proper charges. 

"If any poor householder had lacked seed to sow 
his land or bread or corn, or malt, before the harvest 
and came to the monastery, he should have had it 
until harvest, that he might easily have paid it again. 
Yea, if he made his moan for an ox, horse, or cow, 
he might have had it upon his credit." "All sorts 
of people were helped and succoured by abbeys. 
Yea, happy was that person that was tenant to an 
Abbey, for it was a rare thing to hear that any 
tenant was removed by taking his farm over his 

Such, then, were the White Monks who played an 
important part in the history of Kenfig for close on 
four hundred years. 

Countess Mabel died in a.d. 1157, ten years after 
her husband. Earl Robert. Her eldest son William 
became second Earl of Gloucester and lord of Gla- 
morgan, holding Kenfig as part of his possessions. 
He it was who when at war with Ivor Bach, lord of 
Seinghenydd, was surprised in Cardiff Castle, and, 
with his wife and son, were carried off to the hills, 
Ivor dictating his own terms. 

Earl William added much to the town of Kenfig ; 


he enlarged Keynsham Priory in Somerset at the 
request of his dying son, and it then became an 
Abbey. He also contributed largely to various 
relio-ious foundations. 

In a charter of William, the second Earl, to Nicho- 
las Bishop of Llandaff and others in favour of the 
Cistercian monks, is a gift of a burgage ^ in Kenefeg, 
and a grant of the fishery of Kenefeg water, i.e., river, 
provided his mill at Kenefeg is not affected by it. 
The charter, similar to that of his father Earl Robert, 
constitutes the grant to the monks of all the land 
between Kenfig and Afan. It is not extant, but we 
have the text in an inspeximus by Edward le 
Despenser, lord of Glamorgan and Morganwg, dated 
13 July, 1358 (C.MCLXXXIII) ; also in an inspexi- 
mus by Hugh le Despenser dated 9 Oct., 1338, T. 
212 B (C.MCL). 

Here, then, we find at a very early date — for 
Nicholas, Bishop of Llandaff, held the see from a.d. 
1 1 49 to A.D. 1 1 83 — the Abbey of Margam commenced 
to have possessions in Kenfig, and we shall see as 
we go through the numerous documents which be- 
longed to the Abbey how, year by year, lands and 
houses were given to the monks by various persons, 
so that just before the dissolution of the monasteries 

' Burgage. " Bur " meant a bower, cottage or dwelling, and 
is said to be from a root signifying to cover, to protect, hence 
our word to " bury " and burrow (of a rabbit). The word also 
appears to be used in the same sense in the ancient Norman 
laws, when there were lands called borgage or bourgage (which 
were freeholds, partible among co-heirs), not only in boroughs, 
properly now so called, but in hamlets and rural parishes. — " The 
Ancient Laws of Wales," by Hubert Lewis. 


— Margam in 1537 — a great part of Kenfig manor 
lands had become theirs. 

One of the first gifts to Margam Abbey in the 
manor of Kenfig is a grant — T. 18 and 289 (12); 
(C.DCCXVII) — by Ririth, or Richeret, son of Breavel, 
of land in Clammorgan de supra Corneli for the souls 
of himself, his ancestors, and his wife, who is buried 
in the cemetery outside the gate of Margam Abbey. 
Subject to royal dues of i2d. yearly. The witnesses 
are : W. de Lichesfeld, Jordan de Hereford, W. de 
Valle, monks of Margam ; Ernald the Constable of 
Kenefec, and others. 

As we have no description of the metes and bounds 
of Kenfig borough at this early date, although they 
are well known to us to-day, I leave a description of 
them to a later period, when we will find them given 
in the charter of Thomas Lord le Despenser, which 
is dated 16 Feb., a.d. 1397. 


KENFIG CASTLE was probably erected be- 
fore the town came into existence, so it may 
be well to refer to it at this early period. 

One of the chief approaches to the castle from the 
northward would be the Roman highway as far as 
Pont Felin Newydd or the bridge of the new mill. 
From this point the way would lie west-south-west 
600 yards at the time of its occupation. Judging from 
the name, a mill apparently at one time existed near 
the bridge, but no record of it remains in writing or 
tradition. The Rev. Thomas Howell informs me that 
one of the millstones is in use as a step to a cottage 
near the bridge. When the old bridge was taken down 
a barrel-arch of 3 feet diameter was found under the 
south wall of the bridge above. The barrel-arch 
pointed a little south of east, obliquely to the bridge, 
and probably served to convey the water from the 
tail-race of the mill, which would thus seem to have 
been on the south-east of the bridge. 

The other roads converp-inCT on the Castle from east 

and south are the highway from Cefn Cribwr past 

Marias, the Roman road from Cardiff from the south- 



east, Heol-Ias and the road through Ton Kenfig from 
the south. 

Probably an army advancing to attack Kenfig would 
debouch on to the open ground by all these roads. 
Any roads which in those days led to the west side of 
the town are now lost in the waste of the sand-dunes ; 
as the sea lay on the west of the town and castle the 
chief approach was necessarily from the landward 

As I have said, very little remains to be seen of 
this once important stronghold. Probably if the 
mound above which appear the two clumps of 
masonry were excavated, some parts of the walls 
might be discovered, and it is desirable this should 
be done. 

The site of the castle had evidently been selected 
with a view to the utilisation of the Kenfig river with 
which to form part of the moat. This it does on the 
north-west side, the other sides being protected by 
the artificial moat, of which a considerable part can 
still be traced. The artificial part was supplied with 
water by damming up the river at the point where 
moat and river united on the eastern side. Practically, 
therefore, the castle was encircled by the River Kenfig. 
At first sight one is struck by the large area com- 
prised within the moat, about eleven acres, so that the 
castle-bailey,^ or outer court of the castle, was an 
extensive one. But it must be remembered in the 
Middle Ages the garrison were usually disposed in 

' Viollet-Ie-Duc, the eminent French architect, in technical 
terms in his ''Annals of a Fortress," gives Bailey, forecourt ; court 
of the outer works or yard. 
















lit -5 ^1^1 I 



the bailey of the strong castles. And so it must have 
been in this case, for we find in the Margam MSS. 
mention made of houses occupying part of the space 
within the bailey. One such house we find had been 
occupied by the parson {clericus\ who was probably 
the castle-chaplain. It is an interesting document, as 
it gives us not only an instance of a dwelling in the 
castle-bailey, but it also gives us the position of the 
cemetery of St. James's Church. 

The deed T. 202 (C. MCLXXXVI) is a grant by 
Thomas, son of William de Sancto Donato (St. 
Donat's) to Robert Cavan de Sancto Fagano (St. 
Ffagan's) of a messuage within the bailey (the castle 
bailey), on the east near the wall of the cemetery 
of Kenefeg, which Richard the parson formerly lived 
in, and one acre of arable land which he held in the 
field of the Church-land. 

In the Magnus Rotulus Pipse, or the Great Roll of 
the Pipe,^ we have a glimpse of the castle in active 

A return of the expenses of the lordship of 
Glamorgan is made, and an entry is there of the 
castle costs. 

"And in corrody for the servants dwelling in the 
castles of Neth and Kenefeg and of New Castle, 
;^2 2. iQsh. 4d. by the King's Writ : And in bread for 
the servants of Kenefeg seven marks, by the King's 

In the same document Mauricius de Berkelay 
renders account of the following : — 

^ The Great Roll of the Pipe contains the Sheriffs' returns of 
the revenues of the Crown. 


" And from Resfinald son of Simon ten marks for 
the custody of the castle of Kenefeg by writ of the 
King. And from Walter Luvel [the Knight of 
Corneli, who will often appear in these pages as a 
witness to numerous deeds] 40sh. for the custody of 
the New Castle for half a year. And in repair of the 
castle of Kenefeg and mending the gates and pali- 
sades, ;^i6. iish. 6^d. by writ of the King." 

In the Compotus of Johannis Giffard de Brymmes- 
feld, referred to before, is the cost of various works 
done to Kenfig Castle and also to repairs done to 
houses in the castle. 

John Giffard of Brymmesfeld, the warden for the 
King Edward II., in a.d. 1316, in his account pre- 
served in the Record Office, under the head of "Villa de 
Kenefeg cum Castro," gives: 20 April a.d. 13 16. ''Ex- 
penses of the Castle. 2,000 shingles ^ for the mending 
and repairing the houses in the Castle [in the castle- 
bailey is meant no doubt] 8 shillings. Wages of one 
carpenter making and placing the said shingles by the 
job {ad tascham) and repairing other defective houses 
in the castle, half a mark. For nails for the same, 
two shillings." 

The total cost is xvjs. viijd., i6s. 8d. ; taking out the 
10/- for shingles and nails, 6/8 remain as the value of 
the half-mark. 

This would show there were several houses in the 

A curious item in the account of expenses is the 

^ The shingles {sci?idulcv) were made of wood ; in Neath 
Castle accounts are " 1,500 shingles made and prepared out of 
the Lord's timber by the job." 


following : " Out-of-pocket expenses for hanging two 
robbers 8d. Two ropes for the same 2d. A new 
* calefurciis,' or gallows, for hanging the robbers, 
made by the job 6d. The total cost xvjd., i6d." 

The town and castle were often attacked, and the 
town was on several occasions burned, as we know 
from various chroniclers. So frequently did this 
occur that one chronicler writes, evidently in surprise, 
'* Kenfig had not been burned for a year or more." 
We must bear in mind that at that time the houses 
were built of wood, and so the town was easily set 
on fire.'' 

As far back as a.d. i 167, Kenfig is reported to have 
been burned. In Leland's " Itinerary " it is stated 
"Anno Dom. 1167 villa de Kenfik /r^^ Nethe in 
Wallia combusta est in node S. Hilarii." The 
" Annales de Margan " states that this was done by the 
Welsh on the night of St. Hilary the Bishop, 13 Jan.^ 
From this it would appear that the town was chiefly 
occupied by Normans, as the castle certainly was 
garrisoned by them. 

In A.D. [185 the Welshmen — an eclipse which pre- 
sented the sun the colour of blood, having been 
construed in their favour — began to lay waste the 
district of Glamorgan with fire and rapine ; they 
burned Cardiff, and Kenfig town for a second time 

^ Probably timber with brickwork or stone in sections, known 
as " half-timber," such as Leland probably meant when he wrote 
" The Towne of Gloucester is antient, well builded of Tymbre." 
This was about a.d. 1537 (Leland's "Itinerary," vol. iv., part 2, 
fol. 171). 

2 " Annales de Margan," p. 16. 


fell a prey to the flames ; it had not been burned for a 
year or more. The Castle of Neath was again be- 
sieged and stoutly defended until the arrival of 
French soldiers, who put the Welshmen to flight 
and burned their engines of war. 

This must have been in the eyes of the people a 
remarkable year, for besides the eclipse causing the 
sun to be the colour of blood we read in the " Annales 
de Margan " that at Llanrhidian in Gower, at this 
time, St. Iltyd's spring flowed with milk, and that of 
so excellent a quality that the butter rose upon its 

And now we come to an important event in the 
history of Kenfig Castle and town. In one chronicle 
we find stated in brief terms: " MCCXXXII. 
Combusta est villa de Kenefeg per Morganum 
Cham " " (" 1232 the town of Kenfig was burned by 
Morgan Cham "). 

But we find from another chronicle that if Morgan 
Gam succeeded in burning the town he failed to take 
the castle. Morgan Gam, "the hunchback," was the 
third son of Morgan ap Caradoc ap Jestyn ; he 
inherited the lands of his brothers Leisan and Owein, 
lords of Afan. He was a turbulent man, and delighted 
in quarrels and battle. 

At Eastertide of the year 1232 there must have 
been great alarm at Kenfig, for it was known there 
was to be war and bloodshed. At the command of 
Lewelin a large number of the nobler princes of the 
Welsh were marching, with a large army, on Kenfig, 
with the object of plundering the inhabitants and 
» " Exchequer Chron." in Arch. Catub., 1862, p. 278. 


destroying the town. The chronicler says the people 
having had timely warning of the coming of the foe, 
were enabled to send away their cattle to other places 
for safe keeping. The inhabitants also burned part of 
the town inside the gates so as to render an entry more 
difficult. The Welsh, under the leadership of Morgan 
Gam, lord of Afan, afterwards coming up to the assault, 
first burned the part of the town outside the gates and 
then rushed with great clamour and seized the tower, ^ 
or keep, which was at that time only encircled and 
fortified by a fosse and palisade. - 

But the men who were inside defended themselves 
so bravely that many of the enemy were seriously 
wounded and others killed, whereupon all the others 
after the first assault quickly withdrew and went up 
into the mountains. 

The annalist adds he was much astonished at 
one thing, that although the besiegers were in 
great want of food they spared the church and the 
cemetery and all who were therein.3 I wonder if 
he expected they would have eaten some of the 

Thus Morgan Gam succeeded in burning the town, 
but he failed to capture the castle, and had to retire 
ignominiously to the mountains. William de Rievalle 

^ Note Viollet-le-Duc, in "Annals of a Fortress," gives: Donjon 
or Keep, chief retreat of the defenders of a strong castle. The 
donjon was always separated from the defences of the castle, 
and put in direct communication with the exterior, 

2 Fosse and palisade. The ditch or moat which is dug 
outside the walls, parapet, or rampart, filled with water or with 
palisades or stakes in the bottom. 

3 " Annales de Margan," p. 39. 


was constable of the castle, and seems to have been a 
brave and capable officer. 

In the year 1243 Kenfig town was burned in the 
struggle between Howell ap Meredydd and Richard 
Earl of Clare, who was the eighth Earl of Gloucester 
and lord of Glamorgan.^ 

Kenfig suffered much in the year a.d. 1295. There 
was a general rising ; one Madoc destroyed towns in 
North Wales, and another Madoc overran Pembroke 
and Carmarthen, and Morgan, lord of Afan, gained 
complete mastery over Glamorgan. Clare, lord of 
Glamorgan, at this time was, says Mr. Clark, probably 
disabled by disease. But the King, Edward I., acted 
with vigour. He began in North Wales and passed 
through the whole of Wales with immense rapidity, 
"amazement in his van, with flight combined." The 
terror of his name seems to have reduced the rebels 
to order. In the Eulogium Historiarum the King's 
movement is noticed thus : — 

"Rex de Snowdoun per Walliam progrediens occi- 
dentalem intravit Glamorgan." 

At the end of the year the Earl de Clare died in 
the Castle of Monmouth, 7 Dec, 1295. 

In 13 1 5 things had changed, and we find the son of 
Morgan Gam defending the castle. An entry in the 
Close Roll of 12 March a.d. 131 5, addressed to 
Bartholomew de Badlesmere as warden of Glamorgan, 
mentions the petition of Sir Leisan de Avene, stating 
that durinof a recent Welsh insurrection he defended 
Kenfig Castle at a cost of above forty marks, and 

' MCCXLIIJ. "Combusta est villa de Kenefeg, et Howell 
ap Maredut contra Ricardum de Clara " (" Welsh Annals"). 

' '"A J- 

S- 1 


asking compensation. As Sir Leisan was in truth 
defending his own lands, the King allowed him 
twenty marks only, which Badlesmere was to pay 
him. I Kenfig was not in Sir Leisan's lands, but it 
must have been used in a general scheme for defence, 
Sir Leisan's castle at Aberavon being included. 

We find the echo of this disastrous insurrection in 
the account sent in in 13 16 by John Giffard de 
Brymmesfeld, the warden of the Earl's lands and 
castles in Glamorgan : — 

** Villa de Kenefeg cum castro. 

"Rents of Assize. The same answers for 71s. 
received of rent of assize of 100 burgages of the 
town of Kenefeg at the terms of St. John Baptist 
and St. Michael. And not more because 42 bur- 
gages which formerly yielded for the same period 
21 shillings, were burned in the war and the tenants 
left and the burgages remained empty. 

" And 4 shillings and 6d. from the small cottagers of 
1 the term of St. Michael. 

" And 16 shillings, 6d. from the prise (tax) of beer of 

I the town of Kenefeg for the same time. And not 
more because the greater part of the town was burnt 
in the war." 

Less beer was consumed, and the prise of beer was 

In the reign of Henry IV. the castle made re- 
sistance to the victorious arms of Owen Glyndwr. 
But it fell to him, and he dismantled it and reduced 
it to ruin. 

The castle had been provisioned before Owen came, 
^ '* Kenfig Charters," G. T. Clark. 


for we find in the Calendar of Patent Rolls the 
entry : — 

" 1403, Sep. 1 2th. 4 Henry IV. m. 23. (Rotulus 

"Commission to Richard, Bishop of Worcester, 
Henry Bruyn, Sheriff of Worcester, and John Ryall 
to take ... 8 quarters of wheat, one tun of wine, 
3 tuns of ale, 200 fish and 60 quarters of oats to the 
castle of Kenflyc {sic)'' 

I presume this event must have taken place after 
1405, for in the same Calendar, under date April 6, 
1405, 6 Henry IV., Part 2, m. 30, is the entry : — 

"Grant to the king's consort, Joan, queen of 
England, of the custody of . . . the castle and town 
of Kenfeg, with the lordship of Tyriarth . . . which 
Constance late the Wife of Thomas le Despenser 
lately had . . . during the minority of Richard, his 
son and heir." 

Had the castle been destroyed by Glyndwr before, 
the grant of the custody would have been a farce. 

Hugh le Despenser presented a petition to Edward 
the Second in which he complains that the Castle 
of Kenfig had been plundered and burnt by Roger 
Mortimer, the Earl of Hereford, and his nephew, 
who were confederated against him. 

East of the castle about 650 yards, near the river, 
are some wonderful springs, one of which is called 
Ffynnon Tywod (the sand-spring). The water rushes 
out with unconquered vigour and sweetness, leading 
the sand an everlasting dance ; quite a sight. I wonder 
how its throat does not get choked. 


UNLIKE the practice of our times, the church 
was usually erected first, or with the beginning 
of a town ; in these times a church is thought of 
when the population has become numerous or too 
numerous for the makeshift. I think it probable that 
the chapel of St. Thomas, which will be referred to 
later, was the first religious edifice in the town. 

The ancient church of Kenfig, dedicated to St. 
James, lay 300 yards to the south of the castle: the 
walls of its cemetery adjoin the castle-bailey, as we 
have seen in Chapter III. ; the grant of a messuage 
within the bailey of the castle, on the east near the 
wall of the cemetery ^ of Kenefeg assists in locating it. 

The Church of St. James was erected about the 
same time, or soon after Margam Abbey, for the 
records of Tewkesbury Abbey show that Henry 
Thusard, clerk in Holy Orders, had a licence from 
William Earl of Gloucester to found and build at 
Kenefeg the Church of St. James, and in the British 

^ Cemetery is derived from Caemeteriiim, " a dormitory," it being 
in the Christian sense the sleeping-place of the dead (Gasquet). 



Museum MS. Cott., Cleop., A. VII., we have the 
foundation charter : — 

Earl Williams Charter de Pri^na Fundatione 
Ecclesiae S. Jacobi de Kenefeg. 

" Carta Willelmi Comitis testificantis, quod ipse 
requisivit abbatem et conventum Theokesberiae ut 
permitterent Henrico Thusard clerico ejusdem comitis 
erio-ere ecclesiam in Kenefes;" tenendam dum vixerit 
ab ipsis, solvendo pensionem ii. solidorum ad festum 
omnium Sanctorum, sine minoratione aliqua deci- 
marum suarum quas antiquitus habebant ; ita ut post 
decessum ipsius Henrici, edificia et virgulta et cetere 
emendationes in terra ecclesiae facte, et ornamenta 
ecclesie in ipsa ecclesia, sicut sua propria perpetuo 
remanerent. Ita etiam quod si ministri dicti comitis 
de aliqua parochia ipsius abbatis in parochiam de 
Kenefeg causa guerre, vel majoris pasture oves suas 
vel vaccas removerent et ibi non sint remanentes 
residue, decimam habebit illarum." 

The charter bears no date ; the following is the 
translation : — 

(MS. Cott., Cleop., A.VII., a.d. 1147-1183.) 

" Charter of William the Earl testifying that he has 
required the abbot and convent of Tewkesbury that 
they shall permit Henry Thusard, clerk of the same 
earl, to erect a church in Kenefeg, to hold from them 
while he shall live, paying a pension, or payment, of 
two shillings, at the feast of All Saints, without any 
diminution of their tithes, which they have had in 


former times, so that after the death of the same 
Henry, the building and shrubberies and other 
improvements or repairs made in the land of the 
church and the church ornaments in the same 
church shall remain as their own for ever. So also 
that if the ministers of the said earl shall by reason 
of war or larger pasture remove either his sheep 
or cows from any parish of the said abbot into the 
parish of Kenefeg and there be no residue there 
remaining, he shall have a tithe of them." 

It would seem from this charter that the church 
land was planted with shrubs. 

As Earl William succeeded his father, Earl Robert, 
in A.D. 1 147, the year of the foundation of Margam 
Abbey, St. James's Church was probably built soon 
after ; in fact, we find the church was in existence 
before a.d. 1154, for in T. ^yS (C. DCIX )we have a 
record of an arbitration in that year by Theobald, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate and Legate of 
the Apostolic See, directed to Nicholas ap Gwrgan, 
Bishop of Llandaff, settling the dispute between Job 
the priest, parson of St. Leonard, Newcastle, Bridgend, 
and Master Henry Tusard, parson of St. James, 
Chenefeg, so that the said Henry relinquishes to the 
church of Newcastle the tithe of Geoffrey Esturmi 
(from whom comes the name Stormy — Stormy Farm 
and Stormy Down), and thirty acres of land belong- 
ing to the church of Chenefeg, dated at Canterbury 
A.D. 1 1 54. St. James's Church was therefore built 
between a.d. 1147 and a.d. 1154. 

Among the Cottonian MS. in the British Museum 


is a long charter, Cleop., A VII. 68, by Nicholas, 
Bishop of Llandaff, confirming to Tewkesbury Abbey 
all churches and benefices which the Abbey holds in 
the diocese of Llandaff 

The document discloses the large number of 
churches held by the Abbey in these parts, presented 
to it by Fitzhamon, his son-in-law, Robert Earl of 
Gloucester, and the latter's son, William Earl of 
Gloucester. Thus did these lords gain the powerful 
support of the Church. 

In this charter we find there were two churches in 
the town of Kenfig, betokening a large and important 
place. There was also a chapel in each Corneli. The 
Bishop confirms to Tewkesbury the church of St. James 
of Kenefeg, with the chapel of St. Thomas in the same 
town ; the chapel of Corneli which is the town of 
Thomas ; the chapel of St. Wenduin in the town of 
Walter Lupellus, or Luvel. The date of the charter 
would be between a.d. 1149 and 1183, the period in 
which Bishop Nicholas held the see. 

The name Corneli is derived from the dedication 
of its chapel to St. Cornelius. In Brittany he is 
called St. Cornely, so by a kindred race he is given 
the same name in Wales. The use of the title of 
saint before a name is seldom met with in mediaeval 
Welsh, hence the place is called simply Corneli. 

Above the western door of the parish church of 
Carnac in Brittany is the figure of the patron, St. 
Cornelius, having on either side of him an ox, for he 
is the patron saint of horned cattle. The Pardon of 
St. Comply takes place on September 13th ; the 
" pardon " is the feast of the patron saint of a church, 


and it is to the Bretons what the Mabsant of early 
days was to the Welsh. I say early days, for in 
later times the Mabsant had lost all connection with 
religious feeling. In Brittany the " pardon " retains 
its mediaeval aspect almost unchanged ; it is the feast 
or revel of the parish with strong religious adjuncts. 

All the farmers for miles around make a point of 
bringing their cattle in pilgrimage to the saint. 
They drive them round the church ; then the 
owners kneel before the figure over the west door, 
say a prayer, after which they drive their beasts 
to the holy well, where they sprinkle their heads 
with the water. It is customary for such farmers 
as can afford it to give a beast to St. Cornely. 
After High Mass these cattle are ranged about the 
principal porch ; the clergy come forth in procession 
and bless the oblations, which are then led away to be 
sold by auction for the good of the Church.^ 

In Leland's " Collectanea " is an article on Supersti- 
tious Practices prevailing in Wales in the year 1589. 
The article describes the offering of part of a bullock 
to St. Beuno. It appears to have been the custom in 
North Wales of offering cattle to St. Beuno. 

"And as the Bullocke dyd enter throughe a little 
Porche into the churchyarde, the young man spake 
aloude. Thy halfe to God and Beyno. Then did 
I aske, "says the writer," his Hoste [with whom the 
young man stayed]. Why he said Halfe and not the 
Whole ? His Hoste answered in the yonge Man's 
hereing. He oweth me thother Halfe, therefor he 
offereth but the One Halfe. This was in the Parish 
^ " A Book on Brittany," by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould. 


of Clynnog in the Bishopricke of Bangor, about 
Fifteen Myle from Bangor in the Yere of our Lord 


The town of Sir Walter Luvel, the knight, 

was North Corneli ; his lands lay around it, therefore 

the chapel of St. Wenduin must have been in North 

Corneli. It follows that the chapel of Corneli, or 

St. Corneli, was in South Corneli, " the town of 

Thomas " ; so called probably after Thomas de 

Corneli. At the time of Bishop Nicholas's charter, 

Thomas de Corneli and Walter Luvel were persons 

of high position in North and South Corneli. 

In the copy of the charter of Nicholas, Bishop of 
Llandaff, referred to (C. XXX), Wendun is given as 
the name of the saint to whom the chapel of the 
town of Walter Luvel was dedicated. I have had 
the charter examined recently, with the result that 
the name is found to be Wenduin. 

Saint Wenduin, or Wendelin as he is named in 
German Calendars, is the patron saint of sheep. 

The Rev. H. H. Knight, in his book on Newton, 
refers to a sculptured figure of a lamb fixed in the 
wall of a cottage at Newton Nottage called Ty John 
Morris, and he considers it may have reference to 
St. Wenduin. It is possible the sculptured stone may 
have been removed from the chapel of St. Wenduin at 
North Corneli. 

Passing along Heol-las ^ recently, I noticed a 

^ Heol-las, called " Blue Street " by the inhabitants, from 
a spirit of contrariness, I suppose, glas standing for green as 
well as blue. Heol-las means green street, from the wide grass 
sides which the road has. 

-'•-• •'^:%^".A''u ;-VT.».*V?".I>;r,i 


[To Jiice /,ii,V 73. 


pointed doorway in the south side of the east pine- 
end of a cottage standing in a cluster of others 
between Mawdlam and CorneH. The doorway can- 
not have belonged to a cottage ; it is an ecclesiastical 
doorway of Early English date. The jambs and 
arch have a plain chamfer, or chamfer plane, as 
Mr. Paley terms it. The cottage stands about five 
hundred yards east-north-east from North Corneli. 

I am inclined to think the cottage or part of it 
stands on the site of and embodies part of the chapel 
of St. Wenduin. 

At this date the church of St. Mary Magdalene 
was not built, and we shall see further on the first 
reference to it in the Margam MSS. It was built 
between the years 1 245-1 266. 

A deed by Ketherech, son of John Du, proves that 
the town of Walter Luvel was North Corneli. He 
grants to Margam Abbey five acres of his land 
in Peitheuin, near the highway which leads from 
Kenefec towards Cardiff along the " vill " of Walter 
Lupellus, or Luvel ; he made a further grant of fifteen 
acres adjoining the five in the same terms. Now the 
road from Kenfig to Cardiff does not lead to South 
Corneli, so that the '* vill " must be North Corneli. 

One of the charters of Hugh de Hereford, referred 
to elsewhere, mentions land on the west part of 
Corneli, from the old cemetery to the boundary of the 
land of Walter Lupellus, or Luvel, then to the land of 
J oaf, then as far as the highway coming from the 
chapel of Corneli belonging to Walter Lupellus, and 
so forth. Here we find that a cemetery, that is, 
churchyard, existed at Corneli. 


Another deed puzzled me, for it would almost show 
that the " vill" of Walter Luvel might be South Cornell. 
It is the deed of Philip, son of William de Cornely, by 
which he grants to Margam Abbey the minerals of 
iron and lead on the east side of the high-road which 
leads from the "new town," or Newton Nottage, to 
the town of Walter Luvel, which is called Cornely. 
Which Cornell ? The road from Newton first reaches 
South Cornell, and it is near that place the lodes of 
minerals exist ; there are none, so far as I know, at 
North Cornell. 

Walter Luvel granted to Margam Abbey all 
manner of iron and lead in his whole land. As the 
minerals lie at South Cornell it is probable he had 
land there as well as at North Cornell. 

Luvel was a considerable landowner and a bene- 
factor of the Abbey; in a deed dated a.d, 1202 he 
granted, T. 80 (C. DCCII), all his land in the fee of 
Llangewydd ^ viz., one hundred acres, which he had 
with his wife in marriage of David Scurlag, his wife's 
father, whereby he became a "homo," or dependant, 
of the said David, free of rent except five shillings 
paid by the monks for the land of Penvei. ^ Seven 
years' rent paid beforehand. 

In another deed he notifies to William, Bishop of 
Llandaff, and all the faithful of Holy Church, that he 
has granted to Margam Abbey seven acres of his free 
tenement, one acre being in exchange for the same 
quantity which the monks had near to his land, the 

' The church of St. Cewydd ; there are slender remains of 
the Hen Eglwys at Llangewydd. 

» Pen-y-fai, near Aberkenfig ; head or top of the field. 


rest in frank almoign/ Five of these are adjacent to 
the orrangfe of St. Michael, on the mountain near the 
River Kenfig to the west of the grange, the land of 
Rodbert Corvesarius being to the south, and Alex- 
ander's on the north ; the two acres remaining near 
Alexander's on the north, between the land of Walter 
Ulf and Richard the priest. For this the monks give 
him in charity twelve shillings. 

Witnesses : Walter Lupellus, his son ; David and 
William, his sons ; Athelewa, his wife ; Einulf de 
Kenefec, and others. T. 43 (C. DCCCXLVI). 

The question as to which Cornell was Sir Walter 
Luvel's 2 is, I think, decided by a quit-claim by Sir 
Walter's son, Walter, nephew of David Scurlag. In 
it he is styled lord of Upper Cornell, which is North 
Cornell. A witness to the deed is Maurice, lord of 
Lower Cornell. 

I think we may safely conclude that St. Wenduin's 
Chapel was in North Corneli. 

Perched high up on the side of the hill in the 
village of South Corneli, sheltering under an escarp- 
ment of the limestone rock, and quite near its perpen- 
dicular face, stands a small thatched cottage which is 
known as Ty Capel, or the Chapel house. 

The approach to it is by a street which leads up the 
hillside at a right angle to the main road, and then 
up a grassy slope on to a plateau on which the cottage 
stands. The aspect of the quiet little old-world 
village nestling under the west end of White Cross 

' Frank almoign, free alms. 

"^ He is styled Sir Walter Luvel in a deed dated 26 May, 

A.D. I219. 


Down is picturesque. The hill above is in part 
wooded, and here and there the ivy-clad limestone 
shows white, and makes pleasing contrast with the 
green of grass and trees. From the cottage itself 
a fine view is obtained of the country around and of 
the Channel beyond. 

The important house in South Corneli is, of course, 
Ty Maen, but this poor little cottage was once an 
important building in the place, and one can imagine 
in far-off days the inhabitants wending their way up 
the steep to wedding or baptism or funeral, and at 
night the beacon light from its window beckoning 
the faithful to evensong. 

For Ty Capel represents the ancient chapel 
dedicated to St. Corneli. 

The building, the hiorhest in South Corneli, stands 
about 1 80 feet above sea-level. Its east pine-end 
is only about 12 feet from the face of the rock and 
in it, as if hiding from inquisitive eyes, is a small 
Perpendicular window i 5 inches high to the springing 
of the arch, which itself rises 5 inches to the apex, in 
width \2\ inches. Over it is a label, but the return 
on each side has been broken off. Holes in the jambs 
indicate the position of the stanchions and saddle-bar. 
A small window on the south side has holes for the 
same purpose. The doorway had at some time been 
shifted to its present position at the south side of 
the west pine-end ; the doorway arch is slightly pointed 
and has a chamfer plane. Inside is a huge fireplace 
with flat arch, opening to a width of 7 feet 4 inches. 
The east window is in a cupboard-like recess 2 feet 
wide and 2 feet in depth, the light itself being in the 


ITo face pa^e 76. 


upper part of the recess. I omitted to add that the 
window chamfer (on the outside) is hollowed and the 
cill is level with the ground. 

The site of the chapel is verified by a cyrograph or 
indenture between Philip de Corneli^ and the Abbot 
and Convent of Maroram concerning- an exchange of 
land. The Abbot and Convent by a deed, T. 163 
(C. DCCCCLXX), grant to Philip de Corneli and his 
heirs all their land at the Sanctuary 2 of the Chapel of 
Corneli ; which land lies on the south near the land 
of Walter, son of Anselm, and extends in length to 
the place which is called "Twelve acres," in perpetual 
exchange for the land of the said Philip which adjoins 
the land of the said Abbot and Convent of Margam, 
and begins at the land called Tangestellond 3 and 
reaches in length along the highway as far as the 
place called Orchardescroft on the south ; Philip's 
heir to make provision elsewhere for the dowry of 
his wife, Amabilia, if she outlives him. 

The seal of Philip is i inch in diameter, dark green 
wax ; an ornamental fleur-de-lis or lily, sigill . . . 

LIPPI d' . . . ELI. 

Witnesses : David Siward, William le Flemeng, 
Philip de Nerbert, and others. Dated St. Benedict's 
Day, A.D. 1257. 

The " Twelve acres " field is on the east of the 
main road, a hundred yards south of Ty Maen, and is 
now divided in two by the railway, and its south end 
is along the Heol-y-Splot. 

' Occurs A.D. 1254-1262. 

= In the Middle Ages the churchyard was often called the 
" sanctuary." 3 Ty Tanglwys. 


The field lies to the south of the chapel of St. 
Cornell 137 yards, and in between the chapel and 
field lies the land which belonged to the abbot, with 
probably Walter's land on its north. 

The abbot evidently coveted Philip's land and 
wished to complete a compact area for Ty Tanglwys 
and to obtain access to the main road on the south, 
in addition to the access to the Roman road, or Heol- 
y-Sheet, on the north. 

An old man, so old-looking that I thought at first 
sight that he might have been living at the time of 
the old chapel, told me human remains had been 
found in the ground about the Ty Capel. He also 
told me Orchard's Croft is the field adjoining South 
Corneli on the north and east of the main road. 

At South Corneli stands a residence, mentioned 
already, Ty Maen, or the " Stone House" ; the name 
evidently points to a remote date when all the others 
were built of wood, or what is termed "half-timbered" 
houses. The present house is, I have no doubt, a 
reconstruction of a much older building. This is 
shown to be the case by the jambs and pointed arch 
of an ancient doorway in the wall of an outbuilding 
belonging to Ty Maen on the opposite side of the 
road ; it is now walled up. It is similar to the 
doorway at Heol-las. 

The entrance doorway in the wall of the grounds 
is a good piece of Perpendicular work with flattened 
arch, spandrils, and square label. On each side in the 
spandril is a small shield bearing the date, apparently 
at first sight 16 and 50. But I cannot think such 
work was carried out at so late a period as 1650; 

- .:M 


*,••» jfr ^-^l l*-'"--^ 


[7c' '(lev piiiic 78. 


on examining the figures closely I came to the con- 
clusion that what looks like a 6 is really a 5, and 
that the date is 1550. The 5 of the 50 has a much 
better shape than the 5 of the 15 ; probably the 
architect came by and found fault with the first 5 
and the workman made the second 5 in a better 

Over the entrance-door of the house are the words 
from the 115th Psalm, " Non nobis, Domine, non 
nobis." In the older part of the building is a wide 
fireplace, now walled up, the flattened arch of the 
Perpendicular period, with square label. 

In panels around the dining-room were painted the 
names of the leading families of Glamorganshire. 
These have been painted over, but Mr. Lipscomb, 
Miss Talbot's Margam agent, has kindly given me 
the names. 


I. Co. Glamorgan 

Kemys of Cefnmably 


2. Reginald De Sully 



3. Peter Le Sourd De Petersen 



4. John Le Flammand De St. 

Mansel of Margam 



5, Richard Syward De Tala- 




6. Gilbert d'Omfreville De 

Lewis of the Van 



7. Wm. Lesterling De St. 

Stradling of St. Donats 




8. Roger Berkerol De E. 




9. Robert St. Quintin De 

Carne of Ewenny 





Oliver St. John De Fonmon 

Herbert of Cardiff 10 


Payne Turbeville De Coity 

Beaufort 11 


Richard Granville De Neth 

Butler of Dunraven 12 


Wm. De Londres De Og- 

Lougher of Tythegstone 13 


Robert Fitzhamon 

Cantelupe of Cantleston and 

Library door. 

Cornelly 14 

St. John of Fonmon 15 

Talbot of Margam 16 

Gamage of Coity 17 

Sydney 18 



Entrance to the room. 

Mr. Lipscomb vi^rites me : " It looks as if the painted 
names in the panels may have replaced some decayed 
and faded record of old times — the painting was quite 
plain, and w^ould otherwise be rather meaningless; but 
probably you will concoct a plausible theory" — a 
generally accepted idea of an antiquary's capability 
of invention ! 

Most of the above knightly names appear in the 
monastic deeds of Margam, generally as witnesses 
to deeds and charters. The greater number are of 
Norman descent. And now for the concoction. Over 
each name in the panel was probably painted the 
armorial bearings belonging to the person named. 
I believe it is a fact that the armorial bearings were 
painted as I suggest. 

South Corneli, with Peiteuin, was given to Mar- 
gam Abbey in the early days of the monastery 
by members of the Du family. Ketherech Du and 
his wife Tanguistel gave Peiteuin land and Ty 
Tanglwys. Caradoc Du, brother of Ketherech, gave 


Cornell and part of the Peiteuin lands. These gifts 
would date from a.d. 1190 onwards. 

In A.D. 1208 an important arbitration took place 
concerning a dispute between the two great Abbeys 
of Margam and Neath. The deed of arbitration, 
T. loi [C.DCCI], is by J., Abbot of Fountains, L., 
Abbot of Wardon, and R., Abbot of Boxley,^ arbi- 
trators, and was entered upon in accordance with a 
recited mandate by the Abbot and General Chapter 
of Citeaux.2 

The assessors were the Abbot of Rievaulx, Tintern, 
Caerleon, Cumbermere, Cwmhyr. The Abbots of 
Margam and Neath were present to present their 

The arbitration deed is dated at the Marram 
Abbey Grange of Orchard, Wednesday after St. 
Julian's Day, 28 May, a.d. 1208. 

What an array of abbots — ten lord-abbots ! 

Orchard Grange must have been a manor-house 
and of a superior kind to have accommodated ten 
such great personages, for doubtless they were enter- 
tained there. 

I believe Orchard Grange is now represented by 
Ty Maen, part of the old grange being incorporated 
in the reconstructed building.^ Tradition, too, points 
to its monastic origin, for it is said to have been a 

^ Fountains, co. Yorkshire ; Warden, co. Bedford ; Boxley, 
CO. Kent. 

^ Citeaux, in the department of Cote d'Or, France, is 73 miles 
south-south-east of Clairvaux, and Hes in the centre, about, 
of a triangle formed by the towns of Dijon, Dole, and Beaune. 
Doubtless the cellars of the Abbey were fully stocked with the 
generous burgundy of that famous Golden Slope. 



nunnery. The idea of the nunnery may have come 
from the word convent, so generally believed to mean 
a nunnery, whereas it means the body of monks. 
" The Abbot and Convent of the Monastery of 
Blessed Mary of Margam " was the full descrip 

South Cornell, long treated as a separate manor, 
seems, from some fragments of an early document, to 
have been included in Newton. However this may 
have been, the Herbert Manor, coming through the 
Hortons of Cantleston to Sir Mathew Cradock, was 
transmitted with Cornell Lower, South Cornell, 
to the Herberts of Swansea.^ By his first wife, 
Alice Mansel, Sir Mathew Cradock had an only 
daughter, who married Richard Herbert, Esq., of 
Ewias, father of Sir William Herbert, created Earl 
of Pembroke a.d. 1551. 

Newton Nottage Manor was divided between the 
Earl of Pembroke, Richard Loughor, Esq., and the 
heir of Sir William Herbert, Knt.- It is probable 
that the present Ty Maen was reconstructed by one 
of the Herbert family on the site of the older 

After the digression, which came in incidentally, 
on Ty Maen, we must return to the subject of this 
chapter — the churches. We have but little know- 
ledge of the ancient church of St. lames. Mr. G. T. 
Clark, in the " Kenfig Charters," says the church 
was swallowed up by the sand, and taken down. I 
presume he means that the sand encroached so much 

' "Newton," by the Rev. H. H. Knight. 

2 Extract from "Glamorganshire Pedigrees," circa 1678. 


that the building was taken down and the material 
used elsewhere. 

The site of the church, as marked on the 
Ordnance Survey, is three hundred and six yards 
from the centre of the castle mound ; no trace of 
it remains. Mr. Robert W. Llewellyn some years 
ago found a worked stone on the site, and he told 
me that in certain dry seasons the outlines of graves 
were plainly seen. Mr. C. F. Cliffe, in the " Book 
of South Wales," a.d. 1848, says of the church: 
"An arch of the ancient Castle, and part of this 
ancient church and churchyard ... in which human 
bones are often exposed, may be traced amongst the 
sand hills." Personally, I have not been able to find 
the slightest trace of church or churchyard. 

At Kenfig Farm, a building of the Tudor period, 
is part of the jamb of a window in Sutton stone, and 
this may have come from St. James's, but I am 
inclined to think rather that it was brought from the 
Capel Papistiad near Margam Abbey. At the back of 
the house, too, a small window has been interpolated ; 
the jambs evidently belonged to an ecclesiastical build- 
ing. The only relic, besides two altar-slabs referred 
to later on, of which we can be tolerably certain 
is a finely ornamented tomb-slab, which, I am told 
by Mr. Lipscomb, was discovered on the site of St. 
James's Church several years ago and removed to 
Margam Church for safe keeping. It was the tomb- 
slab of an important personage, probably an ecclesi- 
astic. It is somewhat defaced, and I regret I have 
been unable to make out the inscription, along the 
right side as one looks at it, but from the characters 


one can place the date as the fourteenth century. It 
seems to me to have a crook on either side of a 
floriated staff which ends in a circle which probably 
inclosed a cross. Donovan, writing in a.d. 1804, 
mentions this slab as a large coffin-like stone em- 
bellished with an elegant flowery cross. 

Margam Abbey continued to increase its holding in 
Kenfig, and disputes arose between it and Tewkes- 
bury Abbey. Among the Margam deeds is one by 
Henry, Bishop of Llandaff,^ T. 49 (C. DCL.), granting 
to Margam Abbey all its proper tithes in the parish 
of Kenefeg, the tithes of the sheaves of the church 
of Kenefeg and its chapels, and all the lands of the 
church and its chapels, paying 10 marks yearly to 
Tewkesbury Abbey, which latter Abbey retains the 
cure of souls, the altarage, and the right of pre- 
senting a vicar to the said church, and is answerable 
to the Bishop for the episcopal dues, the lands and 
tithes alone going to Margam. This deed was 
inspected and ratified by Bishop Elias, T. 137 

By another deed Bishop Henry, T. 102 (C.DCCXX 1 1), 
notifies between a.d. i 203-1213 that at the petition 
of Dom Walter, abbot, and the Convent of Tewkes- 
bury, he has granted to Margam Abbey the church 
of Kenefeg, at an annual farm rent of 10 marks to 
the said Convent, saving the episcopal dues. 

In Harley Charter, 75, A. 51 (C. CCXIV and 

DCLXXV), the Abbot and Convent of Tewkesbury 

agree with the Abbot and Convent of Margam that 

after the death of Jurdan de Hamelduna, the latter 

' Henry of Abergavenny, a.d. 1196-1218. 


[To face page 84. 


Abbey shall be quit of the annual payment of 22 
shillings made on his behalf to Tewkesbury, and 
have back the charter which binds the Abbey to 
the payment. 

I cannot find the reason for this payment. 

Another document, T. 103 (C. DCCXXI), is an 
important one, for it definitely settles the matter of 
the church and fixes a regular payment. This is 
an agreement between Tewkesbury and Margam 
Abbeys concerning the church of Kenefeg. By it, 
A.D. 1 203-1 2 1 3, the Abbot and Convent of Tewkes- 
bury grant the church to Margam Abbey for a 
perpetual payment of 10 marks yearly ; the Abbot 
of Tewkesbury to be honourably provided for at 
Kenefeg or Margam when he visits these parts. 
Margam to maintain a chaplain and perform the 

Apparently this agreement did not secure peace 
between Tewkesbury and Margam Abbeys, for the fol- 
lowing deed points to quarrels and litigation. In deed 
T. 136 (C. DCCCCXII) Bishop Elias, on the i8th, 
May, A.D. 1239, notifies to all faithful Christians that 
in his presence Dom Robert of Fortingdon, Abbot 
of Tewkesbury, has for ever renounced all litigation 
with the Abbot and Convent of Margam. Moved 

before S , Prior of Strigull [Chepstow], by 

authority of Otto, the Papal Legate of England, 
respecting tithes and other property in Kenefeg. 

Tewkesbury Abbey received yearly from the Abbot 
of Margam a rent of ^11 los. for the farm of 
the churches of Kenefec and Newcastle. One of 
the acquittances isT. 226 (C. MCLXXX). Dated at 


Tewkesbury 20 March, a.d. 1353-1355- There are 
several extant of later dates. 

In Harley Charter, 75, A. 27 (C. MCXXXIX), 
Bishop John of Llandaff, in the visitation of his dio- 
cese, notifies that the Abbot and Convent of Margam 
have exhibited by Brother Thomas Benet, monk, 
their proctor, sundry muniments and deeds of a 
grant in perpetual fee farm, by the Abbot and Convent 
of Tewkesbury, to them of tithes of their labours in 
the parish of Kenefeg, tithes of sheaves appertain- 
ing to the church of Kenefeg and all its chapels, and 
so forth, Dated 2 2i July, a.d, 1332. 

In A.D. 1397 a dispute arose between the Abbey 
of Tewkesbury and Margam as to the repairs of 
Kenfig Church. John Burghill, Bishop of Llandaff, 
adjudicated by a deed, T. 242 (C. MCCXVII), during 
his visitation in an inquiry into the responsibility of 
Tewkesbury Abbey, John Tuder, Vicar of Kenefek, 
and Margam Abbey to repair the chancel of Kenfek 
Church ; whereby it was agreed and ordered that the 
Abbot and Convent of Tewkesbury must repair the 
chancel before the Feast of SS. Philip and James 
next, and afterwards the Vicar of Kenfek shall be 
answerable for the maintenance and repairs of the 
same. Llandaff Palace, 10 July, a.d. 1397. 

The latest acquittance by the Abbot of Tewkes- 
bury to the Abbot of Margam for this annual pay- 
ment which I can discover is the Harley Charter, 
75, B.I, in the British Museum, dated 4 Nov., 1522. 
No doubt it was paid up to the end which came and 
swept away both monasteries in 1537. 

The church of St. James was in existence as late 


as A.D. 1397, according to the above adjudication, 
by John Burghill, Bishop of Llandaff, We find from 
another document, which I will refer to later, that 
Pyle Church was built about a.d. 1485, so that 
probably St. James's Church was finally over- 
whelmed between the above date a.d. 1397 and 
A.D. 1485. 

A document among the Margam MSS. reveals an 
interesting fact in the life of ancient Kenfig and in 
connection with the church of St. James. 

From the deedT. ^^^ (C. MLXVIII) we find that 
some time between a.d. 1254 and 1267 a lonely recluse 
or anchoress dwelt at Kenfio- in a narrow cell built, as 
was the custom, against the wall of the chancel of 
St. James's Church. This is a grant by John, son of 
Hosebert of Kenefeg, to Alice, t\\Q famtila, or servant, 
formerly the inclusa, or recluse, of St. James's Church 
of Kenefeg, of a messuage in Kenefeg town, on the 
south part of St. James's cemetery, at a yearly rent of 
two peppercorns at Michaelmas, and eleven shillings 
in gersumma,^ or consideration money. 

Witnesses: W. Franklein, who occurs a.d. 1254- 
1267; Philip the cook; Thomas de Corneli ; John 

^ The low rent, with the fee on the death of a tenant, quite 
accords witli the Welsh Breyr- tenure. This fee was called a 
grassuin^ which is said to have been the same as gersiim. And in 
an ancient deed cited by Somner (Somner, "Gavelkind," p. 177), 
there was a grant to Jordan de Serres and his heirs ad gavelikin- 
dam xi. acres to be held of the church of Canterbury in here- 
ditary right in perpetuity at an annual rent of 6s. 6d. ; for that 
concessione, i.e., grant, the said Jordan gave to the church one 
hundred shillings de Gersume. — " The Ancient Laws of Wales," 
Herbert Lewis. 


Albus ; W. Ruddoc ; Maurice Gramus, who occurs 
A.D. 1258-1267; and Thomas Walensis. 

AHce had evidently in the course of time recovered 
from her grief; maybe she had been disappointed in 
love, which had induced her to take upon her the 
austere life of a recluse immured in a narrow cell 
and never leaving it. Time softens all things, and 
Alice became the servant attendino; to the cleanino;^ 
of the church, and so, as to be always at hand, had 
her dwelling near the churchyard. 

" Besides monks and friars, rectors and vicars, 
cantarists and chaplains of various kinds, there was 
still another kind of religious persons to be found in 
many towns, viz., Recluses. The first recluses were 
inclosed in the Egyptian deserts in a narrow cell, but 
in process of time a churchyard was taken to be a 
sufficiently solitary place, and the cell sometimes con- 
sisted of two or more fairly comfortable rooms built 
against the chancel wall of the church. There lived 
an old hermit or priest, or a religious woman, sap- 
ported partly by an endowment, partly by the offerings 
and bequests of the people. Their picturesque 
asceticism attracted the interest and veneration of 
impressible people, who would consult them in the 
affairs of their soul. Richard the Second, before 
proceeding to Smithfield to quell Wat Tyler's re- 
bellion, consulted the recluse who lived in a cell in 
Westminster Abbey. And Henry V. consulted the 
same recluse before one of his French expeditions. 

" Thomas Bolle, Rector of Aldrington, Sussex, 
having resigned his living in 1402, applied to the 
Bishop, Robert Rede, for leave to build a cell 



against the wall of the church, in which he might 
be shut up, as a recluse, for the rest of his life. 
The licence was granted, and the Reclusorium re- 
mains to this day in the shape of a room 29 feet 
by 25 feet with ingress to the chapel of the Blessed 
Virgin on the north side of the church." ^ 

The first reference to St. Mary's which I can find is 
in a deed, T. 289, 60 (C. MXXV), by which Margery, 
daughter of Roger, and concubine of Richard, the 
clerk of Kenefeg, grants to Margam Abbey three 
acres of land in the fee of Kenefegh of her free 
patrimony, one acre and a quarter of which adjoins 
the road from the Old Castle 2 to Corneli on the 
west, between the land which William Alexander 
holds of the monks, formerly the land of Thomas 
Hosman, and of Hugh Walensis. They begin at 
the said road and lie to the west ; as far as an 
acre held by the said William, formerly by John 
Wittard. One acre and a quarter lies between William's 
land, formerly W. Coh's, and that of W. Fronkelen ; 
these begin at the said road and lie along to the 
west as far as the highway leading from St. Mary 
Magdalene's Chapel to Corneli ; half an acre lies on 
the east of the road leading from the Old Castle to 
Corneli, between the lands of William, son of Alex- 

^ " Parish Priests and their People in the Middle Ages in 
England," Rev. E. L. Cutis, D.D. 

== Old Castle. This refers to the British Camp on the 
western end of Cefn Cribwr, near which is Pen Castell Farm. 
In an early deed by which Gunnilda wife of Roger Sturmi, 
gives her dower land of eighty acres to Margam Abbey, it 
is referred to as Vetus Castellum super montem — the Old 
Castle on the mountain. 


ander (formerly W. Coh's), and the land of Thomas 
Cole. This begins at the said road and lies east 
towards the land of Thos. Gramus. 

Witnesses : Philip de Corneli ; Thomas Gramus ; 
W. Fronkelen ; Philip the clerk ; Thomas Walensis ; 
Brother W. Ailward, monk of Neath; Nicholas de 
Kenefegh, monk of Margam. 

( Round seal, green wax ; a star. ) 
^ s. margerie:fil'e:rog'i. 

The witnesses supply us with the date approxi- 
mately. Philip de Corneli occurs a.d. i 254-1 262, 
Thomas Gramus a.d. i 245-1 267, Philip the clerk 
A,D. 1 254-1 282. The deed exhibits great care in 
fixing the locality of the land. 

The chapel of St. Mary Magdalene has recently 
been restored by Miss Talbot, and there remains of 
the original building the tower only. Inside is a 
Norman font with fish-scale ornament. 

Sir Stephen R. Glynne describes the church as 
it was before restoration, after a visit on Sept. 26, 

"A rude church of the South Wales stamp, compris- 
ing a nave and chancel, with a large coarse western 
tower, to the west of which is attached a very large 
porch. It is probable that the whole is Third Pointed, 
though there is little distinction of an architectural 
character. The tower is much ruder than that of 
Pyle ; it has a battlement, below which on the north 
and south sides is the usual plain corbel-table ; but 
' Arch, Cambrensis. 

FONT 1\ ST. \IAKY MACil >AI.K\ K S (.liriall. 

[To face piige 91. 


none on the east or west. In the centre of the 
western battlement is a kind of pediment, a common 
feature in this country. The belfry is lighted only 
by a narrow slit on each side ; on the south is a 
large stair-turret lighted by slits, but not reaching 
up very high ; some of these slits are barred. The 
tower arch is low and plain, rude, and misshapen, 
of very obtuse form upon coarse imposts. The 
chancel is also very low ; there are a square recess 
on the north-east side and brackets in the east wall. 
The font is Norman and curious ; the bowl-cup 
shaped with a cable-moulding round the rim and 
courses of scaly mouldings. The whole church is 
whitewashed externally, even the roof. The site 
is elevated, and commands a sea-view over flat, sandy 

A few years ago I noticed two altar-slabs on which 
the consecration crosses were still plainly visible, 
lying on the edge of the path leading from the 
entrance gate to the church porch. I mentioned this 
to Mr. Lipscomb, but before he could have them 
removed I found, to my astonishment, they had 
actually been utilised to form part of the pavement 
in front of the porch. I brought this to Mr. Lips- 
comb's notice, and he had the slabs taken up, by 
permission of the vicar, and placed for safe keeping 
inside the church. 

Here we have two pre-Reformation altar-slabs 
with some of the consecration-crosses still to be 
seen. In a very short time these would have been 
entirely obliterated and the slabs lost sight of. Tra- 
dition has it that these ancient relics were actually 


it supplies us with the date of the building of Pyle 

This document, T. 2812, is a Royal Inspexwius of 
a record in the Court of Augmentation of Crown 
Revenues, showing that in Easter Term, April, a.d. 
1539. the townsmen {villani) of Pyle came into court 
with a deed dated at Cowbridge 23 May, a.d. 1536, 
under seal of John Vaughan, LL.D., Visitor in Wales 
for Thomas Crumewell, the King's Vicar-General in 
Spirituals, reciting testimonial letters of William 
Morgan, LL.D., Vicar in Spirituals and Official of the 
Bishop of Llandaff, which declare that at a Consistory 
held at Margam, 12 Aug., a.d. 1485, in the cause of 
the townsmen of Pyle against the burgesses of Kenfig, 
a sentence definitive was pronounced that all the 
burgesses of Kenfig should attend the church of 
Pyle, newly erected, as their parish church ; and the 
court allows the sentence. 

Witness : Sir Richard Ryche, Knt., at West- 

Dated: 27 April, 31 Henry VIII., a.d. 1539. 

When the dissolution of the monasteries was taken 
in hand, provision had to be made for carrying out the 
transfer of the property of the religious corporations 
to the Crown, and so a measure was passed in Parlia- 
ment creating a Court of Augmentations. This court 
consisted of a chancellor, a treasurer, two legal officers, 
ten auditors, seventeen particular receivers, a clerk of 
the court, with an usher and messenger. The C(3urt 
had a busy time, dealing with the monastic assets 
coming into the King's possession through the sup- 
-pression of the religious houses. The church of Pyle 


(St. James) was probably just completed at the above 
date, A.D. 1485. It is a little over a mile and a half as 
the crow flies from the old church of Kenfig town 
(St. James) then destroyed by sand. It was, no doubt, 
intended to replace the latter, and, seeing that the cost 
was partly incurred for the burgesses of Kenfig, the 
latter were made to understand that the new church 
was their parish church, and they must attend it, and 
contribute to its service and maintenance. For some 
reason or other apparently the burgesses did not so 
wish to regard the new church or to attend it. 

One of the Margam deeds, T. 2075, is a deed of 
sale by Lodowicus,^ or Lewis, Abbot of Margam, of 
the Cistercian Order, and the Convent thereof, in the 
diocese of Llandaff, to Master Maurice Byrchynsha,^ 
LL. B., Hugh Salisbury, Thomas Troutbeck, and 
Richard Jonys, laymen, of the advowson, disposition, 
and donation of the parish church of St. James of 
Kenfick, same diocese, etc. This is, of course, St. 
James's Church, Pyle. Dated in the Chapter House, 
4 March, a.d. 1528 (for 1529). Seal of the Abbey, 
with two small counterseals of T. S., green wax. 

The little church is interesting, and still more so as 
we know, very nearly, the date of its erection. At 
the Consistory Court at Margam, mentioned before, 
22 August, A.D, 1485, the church was stated to have 
been newly erected, so I think the date may be safely 
put at A.D. 1480 to A.D. 1485. 

The architecture is Perpendicular. The plan com- 

' Lewis Thomas, last Abbot of Margam. 

2 A John Byrchynshaw was created Abbot of Chester, 
A.D. 1493. 


prises a chancel and nave, western tower, and south 
porch. The east window is of three Hohts ; the 
window and the east wall appear to be original, 
the north and south walls having been restored. 
In the east wall, about 5 feet up on each side of 
the altar, is a bracket on which formerly stood a 
statue. The drip-stone over the east window has 
square, somewhat rudely worked terminations of the 
period. On the south side of the chancel are 
two square-headed lights and a priest's door, now 
blocked up. 

Sir Stephen R. Glynne, Bart., writing of Pyle 
Church, September 26, a.d. 1848, states : "In the nave 
are square-headed windows on the south side with 
labels and of two and three lights," so that the large 
pointed Perpendicular window near the porch must 
have been inserted since then. 

The corbels for carrying the rood-loft remain. 

The chancel arch is pointed, and the arch mouldings 
spring directly from the jambs, and are not continued 
below the curve. The tower arch is similar ; the arch 
mouldings spring directly from the jambs. 

The roof is of barrel form ; on the wall-plate are 
alternately a shield and a human face. 

The tower is strongly built, embattled, with corbel- 
table below the battlement ; from the top are to be 
seen fine views of the country, the sea, and Mumbles 

The base of the churchyard cross, having still part 
of the shaft of the cross, remains in the usual position 
— in front of the south porch. It is to be hoped that 
the cross may be repaired, seeing that all over the 


country the churchyard and village crosses are being 

It is extraordinary how things that have been used 
in past ages in the Divine Service have so little 
reverence paid to them in this land. I found part of 
the mensa of the pre- Reformation altar forming the 
step to the belfry ; two of the consecration crosses 
remain as clear as when they were first cut, over four 
hundred years ago. The altar-slab had been cut to 
form the step, and is now only 18 inches wide, the 
central cross being near the edge ; the other three 
crosses were in the parts cut away. The mensa is 
very similar to the larger one at Mawdlam, which is 
5 feet 6J inches long by 2 feet 6 inches wide, so that 
about 6| inches have been taken off the end and 1 2 
inches off the side, which originally was against the 
east wall. The slab is of the usual section, as at 
Mawdlam, but is much newer and the edges are 
still sharp. 

And so the altar mensa on which the Holy Mystery 
was celebrated, and from which the Bread of Heaven 
was distributed for nearly a hundred years, had be- 
come a foot-step. 

Mr. Lipscomb, so soon as I told him of the dese- 
cration, took steps and had the altar-slab removed 
from its position as a foot-step. A past age was 

Now I think I have told all that can be told of 
Kenfig old church and its chapels. 



MR. CLARK, in the " Kenfig Charters," says 
the documents preserved in the municipal 
chest in the Town Hall, at Kenfig are nine in 
number. i. The Charter of Thomas Lord le 
Despenser, dated i6 February, a.d. 1397. 2. The 
Charter of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Worcester, 
dated i May, 142 1. 3. The Charter of Isabella, 
Countess of Worcester, dated i May, 1423. 4. The 
Ordinance of Kenfig, 4 Edward HL This is a trans- 
lation of the original which is lost. 5. A copy of 
No. 4. 6. A Presentment or Survey of the Lordship, 
Manor, Town, and Borouo^h of Kenfigf, taken in 
A.D. 1660. 7. A copy of No. 6. 8. A translation of the 
Charter of Lord Thomas, on paper. 9. An abstract 
of the Charter of Countess Isabella in English. 

Thomas, sixth Lord le Despenser, was the youngest 
son of Edward, son of Hugh le Despenser, who married 
Eleanor, sister and co-heir of Gilbert de Clare, the 
last Earl of Gloucester, by whom the Despensers 
became lords of Glamorgan. Lord Thomas married 
Constance, daughter of Edmond of Langley, Duke of 
York, and among the estates allotted to her in dower 

occur the castle and town of Kenfitr. His son 



Richard was the last male of the house of Despenser, 
and a second daughter was Isabella, whose charter 
follows. The recited Charter of Edward le Despenser, 
fifth baron, and father of Thomas, is dated 14 May, 
34 Edward III. (1360). Among the witnesses to the 
latter is Thomas, Abbot of Neath. ^ 

I give here the Charter of Thomas le Despenser, 
lord of Glamorgan, 16 February, 20 Richard II. 
(1397)' iri Latin, followed by a translation in English. 
The Latin text is taken from " Cartae et Alia Muni- 
menta quae ad Dominium de Glamorgan pertinent," 
vol. ii. p. 45. Curante G. T. Clark : — 

Charter of Thomas le Despenser, Lord of 
Glamorgan, 16 Feby., 20 Rich. II. [1397]. 

Thomas le Despenser filius et heres domini Ed- 
wardi le Despenser et domine Elizabeth consortis 
sue dominus Glamorgancie et Morgancie. Omnibus 
sancte matris ecclesie filiis ad quos hoc presens 
scriptum pervenerit salutem. Noveritis nos inspexisse 
confirmacionem bone memorie domini Edwardi patris 
nostri nuper domini Glamorgancie et Morgancie quam 
fecit burgensibus nostris de Kenfeg de libertatibus 
eorum in hec verba. 

Edwardus le Despenser dominus Glamorgancie et 
Morgancie omnibus ballivis et ministris nostris ac 
aliis fidelibus presentem cartam inspecturis salutem in 
Domino sempiternam 

Sciatis quod de gracia nostra speciali dedimus et 
- concessimus burgensibus nostris ville nostre de Ken- 
feg omnes libertates subscriptas imperpetuum videlicet 
» " The Kenfig Charters," G. T. Clark. 


Quod ipsi et heredes sui qaieti et liberi sint de 
thelonio muragio pontagio pavagio et terragio kayagio 
et picagio et aliis diversis custumis et consuetudinibus 
per totum dominium nostrum tarn in Anglia quam in 

Et quod ipsi eligere debeant annuatim ballivos 
nostros de burgensibus nostris eiusdem ville videlicet 
tres prepositos de quibus Vicecomes Glamorgancie seu 
Constabularius castri nostri de Kenfeg unum recipiet 
ad voluntatem suam duos ballivos ex quibus prepositus 
recipiet unum et duos tastatores cervisie qui debent 
recipi et iurari in castello nostro de Kenfeg coram vice- 
comite seu constabulario eiusdem castri ad bene et 
fideliter faciendum quecumque ad officia sua pertinent 

Et quod idem prepositus onerari debeat in compoto 
suo de exitibus ballivie eorum. 

Et eciam predictus prepositus et ballivus qui pro 
tempore fuerint pro serviciis suis de redditu unius 
burgagii sint quilibet eorum quietus per annum. 

Concessimus eciam predictis burgensibus nostris 
quod de omnibus merchandisis tarn per terram quam 
per aquam ad predictam villam venientibus seu trans- 
euntibus demonstracio primo fiet constabulario nostro 
predicto seu preposito ville priusquam aliquid inde sit 
venditum seu remotum sub pena qua decet 

Et quod nullus de burgensibus nostris capi nee 
imprisonari debeat in castro nostro predicto pro 
aliquibus eos tangentibus dum manucapcionem seu 
plegiagium extra pontem castri predicti seu portam 
possent invenire nisi in casu felonie cum manu opere 
tantum capti fuerint seu pro aliquibus nos aut familias 
nostras specialiter tangentibus. 


Et de omnibus rebus infra libertatem ville nostra 
predicte factis prefatos burgenses tenementa et catalla 
eorum tangentes unde inquisicio capi debeat quod ilia 
inquisicio sit terminata per intrinsecos eiusdem ville 
et non per alios. 

Concessimus insuper eisdem burgensibus nostris 
quod ipsi nee heredes sui esse non debeant receptores 
denariorum nostrorum nisi tantum de denariis exeun- 
tibus de ballivia prepositatus ville nostre predicte nee 
distringi debeant ad blada carnes vina seu alia victualia 
nostra contra eorum voluntatem emendum sed quod 
liberi sint per libertates eorum vendere omnia que 
habent vendenda cuicunque et quibuscunque et quo 
tempore voluerint absque aliquo impedimento 

Preterea concessimus prefatis burgensibus nostris 
quod ipsi et heredes sui libere legare possent omnia 
burgagia sua per ipsos adquisita tam de tenementis 
quam de redditibus cuicunque et quibuscunque volu- 
erint ad voluntatem ipsorum 

Et quod iidem burgenses nostri distringi non debeant 
exire antiquas bundas libertatis ville predicte contra 
eorum voluntatem ad aliquid faciendum Et tales sunt 
bunde libertatis eorum videlicet inter locum vocatum 
Newdich et Taddulcrosse et quandam divisam ducen- 
tem de Newdich usque Taddulcrosse inter terram 
Abbathie de Margan et terram Abbathie de Teokes- 
burie in parte orientali et quendam rivulum vocatum 
Blaklaak qui solebat currere de aqua australi usque 
aquam borialem de Kenfeg in parte occidentali et 
medietate cursus aque de Kenfeg in parte boriali a 
Howlotesford currentis ad mare et Regiam viam 
ducentem de Taddulcrosse ad crucem et sic de dicta 
cruce usque Blaklaak in parte australi 


Et quod nullus extraneus extra nundinas vel forum 
infra bundas predictas aliquas merchandisas de aliquo 
extraneo emat nisi tantum de burgensibus nostris 
eiusdem ville preter gentiles homines de Glamorgancie 
et Morgancie pro victualibus eorum et non racione 
merchandise Nee ahquis teneat seldam apertam de 
aliquibus merchandisis nee tabernam nee Corf faciet 
in villa nostra predicta nisi fuerit cum predictis bur- 
gensibus nostris lotatus et escotatus et infra guldam 
mercatorium ipsorum receptus 

Necnon concessimus eisdem burgensibus nostris 
quod ipsi et heredes sui guldam inter eos facere 
possint quo tempore et quandocunque voluerint ad 
proficuum ipsorum. 

Et quod distringi non debeant pro debito alicuius 
nisi debitores aut plegii pro eodem fuerint Et quod 
nullus ballivus seu minister noster colore ballivie sue 
summoniciones sue attachiamenta faciet nee infra 
bundas predictas districciones capiet nisi tantum con- 
stabularius predictus et ballivi ejusdem ville qui per 
ipsos burgenses electi fuerint. 

Insuper concessimus prefatis burgensibus nostris 
quod omnes mercatores tam Pannarii Cerdones 
Pelliparii et Cirotecarii quam alii diversi qui ex 
empcione et vendicione vivant infra dominium nostrum 
Glamorgancie et Morg-ancie residere debeant in villis 
de burgh et non upland. 

Et quod omnimodas' merchandisas faciant in nun- 
dinis foris et villis de burg et non alibi Et eciam 
omnes mercatores cum eorum merchandisis alibi non 
transeant quam per regales vicos et per villas de 
burgh. Ita quod nos nee heredes nostri tolnetum 


nostrum nee aliquas custumas nobis debitas aliquo 
tempore amittamus 

Et quod predicti burgenses nostri nee eorum heredes 
aliquam vigilaeionem faeiant nee aliquem fugitivum in 
aliqua eeclesia eustodiant extra muros ville nostre 

Coneessimus vero predietis burgensibus nostris quod 
per ordinacionem eonstabularii predieti ordinaeiones et 
elamaciones libere facere possint de assisa panis et 
eervisie et aliis diversis rebus ad voluntatem eorum 
eandem villam tangentibus quandoeunque neeesse 
fuerit ad emendaeionem illius ville et profieuum populi 
nolentes quod iidem burgenses nostri sint ligati per 
ordinaeiones et clamaeiones in eomitatu nostro Glamor- 
ganeie aliquo tempore faetas. 

Preterea eoneessimus prefatis burgensibus nostris 
quod due nundine sint in eadem villa nostra quolibet 
anno sieut esse solebant tempore anteeessorum nos- 
trorum videlieet nundine que ineipiunt in vigilia 
Sti. Jaeobi apostoli durante per oeto dies sequentes 
In quibus vero nundinis predietus eonstabularius seu 
prepositus eapiet tolnetum nostrum et alias eustumas 
nobis debitas et quod de eetero in eisdem nundinis 
predietus eonstabularius seu prepositus teneat omnia 
plaeita eorone de omnibus feloniis infra bundas 
libertatis eiusdem ville durantibus illis nundinis 
faetis ac alia plaeita de transgressionibus debitis et 
eonveneionibus et aliis diversis eontraetis ubieunque 
fuerint faeta. Et eoneessimus predietis burgensibus 
quod durantibus predietis nundinis nullus mereator 
aliquas merehandisas emat vel vendet extra illas nun- 
dinas inter Rempny et Poltheanan sub forisfaetura 


earum merchandisarum et gravi amerciamento. Et 
alie nundine sint die Martis in septimana Penticostes 
que nundine quiete sint de tolneto tantum in vigilia 
et in die sequenti 

Concessimus insuper prefatis burgensibus nostris 
quod constabularius seu prepositus ville nostre predicte 
teneat placita vocata Pepoudres de die in diem quan- 
docunque necesse fuerit 

Et omnia alia placita terminentur de mense in 
mensem coram Vicecomite Glamorgancie in curia 
ville nostre predicte 

Concessimus eciam quod constabularius noster de 
Kenfeg qui pro tempore fuerit de cetero faciet officium 
Coronatoris de omnibus infortuniis infra libertatem 
predictam contingentibus 

Preterea concessimus prefatis burgensibus nostris 
quod ipsi et heredes sui habeant communem pasturam 
in communibus pasturis quibus usi fuerint ex antiquo 
pro averiis suis pasturandis et aliis aisiamentis in 
eisdem habendum prout habere solebant tempore 
antecessorum nostrorum. 

Nos autem donaciones et concessiones predictas 
ratas habentes et gratas eas pro nobis et heredibus 
nostris predictis burgensibus nostris concedimus et 
confirmamus easque tenore presencium innovamus. 
Volentes et concedentes pro nobis et heredibus nostris 
quod carta predicta in omnibus et singulis articulis 
suis imperpetuum firmiter et immobiliter observetur 
eciam si aliqui articuli in eadem carta contenti hue — 
usque forsitan non fuerint observati. 

In cuius rei testimonium huic presenti carte sigillum 
Cancellarie nostre de Kaerdyf duximus apponendum. 


Hiis testibus venerabilibus patribus Henrico abbate 
de Margan Thoma abbate de Neth domino J ohanne 
de Coventre archidiacono Landavensi et custode 
dominii Glamorgancie et Morgancie dominis Ricardo 
de Thurberville Johanne le Norreis Johanne de la 
Seer Elya Basset militibus et aliis. 

Data apud Kaerdyf quartodecimo die mensis Maii 
anno regni Regis Edwardi tertii post conquestum 
tricesimo quarto 

Nos vero prefatus Thomas le Despenser de gracia 
nostra speciali concessimus predictis burgensibus 
nostris et eorum successoribus quod habeant unum 
messorem super [idem pasturam] eorum vocatam le 
Rugge que se extendit in longitudine de Catput usque 
ad Rugge de Coitiff et in latitudine de Kevencribor 
usque aquam decurrentem de Lowerkesmore usque 
Kenfeg qui quidam messor si aliquos alios preterquam 
burgenses ville nostre predicte inveniat super dictam 
pasturam manuoperantes cum eorum averiis ipsos 
attachiari faciat et attachiamenta presentet ad hun- 
dredam ville nostre predicte et sint ibi amerciati secun- 
dum quantitatem delicti. 

Concessimus insuper predictis burgensibus nostris 
et eorum successoribus unam pasturam communem 
vocatam le Doune de Kenfeg que se extendit in 
longitudine a prato comitis usque ad Goutesfurlong 
abbatis de Neth et se extendit in latitudine a 
Wadeslond quam Willielmus Stiward tenet usque le 
Burghes de Kenfeg super quam communam predictus 
messor pro commodo nostro attachiamenta faciat. Et 
si aliquos de burgensibus ville nostre predicte ad comita- 
tum nostrum Glamorgancie aliquo tempore attachiari 


contigerit volumus et concedimus quod medietas inqui- 
sicionis que supercapi debeat sit de de burgensibus 
ville nostra predicte et altera medietas viceneto 

Concessimus insuper prefatis burgensibus nostris 
centum perticas terre in augmentum ffranchesie eorum 
videlicet de capella Sancte Marie Magdalene versus 
partem orientalem et citra circumquaque antiquas 
bundas et limites dicti Buro-i de Kenfegf ratificantes et 
confirmantes imperpetuum per presentes pro nobis et 
heredibus nostris omnes predictas libertates tam de 
novo per nos [concessas] quam per predictas ante- 
cessores nostros predictis burgensibus nostris de Ken- 
feg et eorum successoribus prius datas. 

In cuius rei testimonium huic present! carte sigillum 
cancellarie nostre de Kaerdyf duximus apponendum. 

Hiis testibus Domino Johanni de Sancto Johanne 
tunc vicecomite nostro Glamorgancie Domino Wi- 
lelmo Stradelyng milite Johanne Basset Roberto 
Walssche et Johanne le Eyr et aliis. 

Datum apud Kaerdiff sexto decimo die Ffebruarii 
anno regni Regis Ricardi secundi post conquestum 

" This, the oldest extant Kenfig charter, is engrossed 
upon a skin of stout parchment, sixteen inches broad 
by twenty inches long, with a fold of three inches to 
carry the label for the seal. The character is small 
but clear, and the ink good. The document is per- 
fectly legible throughout, save where small holes have 
been worn by constant folding. Where this occurs, 
the words are supplied, in this print, in brackets. 
The seal is of red wax of excellent quality, shown by 





the sharpness of the impression retained by what 
remains of it." 

Charter of Thomas le Despenser, Lord of 
Glamorgan, i6 Feb., 20 Ric. II. [1397]. 

Thomas le Despenser, son and heir of Lord 
Edward le Despenser and of the Lady Elizabeth, his 
consort, lord of Glamorgan and Morgan, to all the 
sons of Holy Mother Church to whom this present 
writing shall have come, greeting. Know that we have 
inspected the confirmation of Lord Edward of worthy 
memory, our father, late lord of Glamorgan and 
Morgan, which he made to our burgesses of Kenefeg 
concerning their liberties in these words. 

Edward le Despenser, lord of Glamorgan and 
Moro-an, to all our bailiffs and ministers and other 
faithful people who shall inspect the present charter, 
o-reetinof everlastinor in the Lord. 

Know that of our special grace we have given and 
granted to our burgesses of our vill of Kenfeg all the 
underwritten liberties for ever, namely, that they and 
their heirs be quit and free of toll for repairing walls, 
bridges, paving, and earthworks, quayage,^ picage,- 
and divers other the tolls and customs throughout all 
our lordship as well in England as in Wales. 

And that they may yearly elect our bailiffs from our 
burgesses of the same vill, namely, three provosts 
(or reeves, ''prepositus" 3), of whom the sheriff of 
Glamorgan or the constable of our castle of Kenfeg 

' Quayage, toll for using a quay. 

= Picage, payment for breaking the ground to set up a booth. 

3 Prepositus, chief municipal officer. 


shall receive one, at his will, two bailiffs, out of whom 
the provost shall receive one, and two tasters of beer, 
who ought to be received and sworn in our castle 
of Kenfeg before the sheriff or the constable of the 
same castle, well and faithfully to perform whatsoever 
things belong to their offices. 

And that the same provost ought to be charged in 
his account with the issues of their bailiwick. 

And also the aforesaid provost and the bailiff for 
the time being shall for their services each be quit of 
the rent of one burgage by the year. 

We have granted also to our aforesaid burgesses, 
that of all merchandise coming to or passing through 
the aforesaid vill as well by land as by water an 
inspection shall first be made by our aforesaid con- 
stable or the provost of the vill before any thereof be 
sold, under a suitable penalty. 

And that none of our burgesses ought to be taken 
or imprisoned in our castle aforesaid for anything 
touching them so long as they can find surety or 
pledge without the bridge or gate of the aforesaid 
castle, except that in the case of felony only they 
shall be taken with stolen goods in hand, or for 
anything specially touching us or our household. 

And that concerninof all thino-s done within the 
liberty of our aforesaid vill touching the burgesses 
aforesaid, their tenements and goods, whereof an 
inquisition ought to be made, that inquiry be deter- 
mined by inhabitants of the same vill and not by 

Furthermore we have granted to our said burgesses 
that neither they nor their heirs be receivers of our 


moneys except only of the moneys issuing from the 
bailiwick of the provost of our aforesaid vill, nor ought 
they to be distrained to buy our corn, flesh, wine or 
other our victuals against their will, but that they 
be free by their liberties to sell all things which they 
have to sell to whomsoever and at what time they shall 
wish without any impediment. 

Furthermore, we have granted to our aforesaid bur- 
gesses that they and their heirs may freely bequeath all 
their burgages by them acquired, as well of tenements 
as of rents, at their will to whomsoever they shall wish. 

And that our same burgesses ought not to be dis- 
trained to go beyond the ancient bounds of the liberty 
of the aforesaid vill against their will to do any- 
thing. And these are the bounds of their liberty, 
namely, between the place called Newditch and 
Taddulcrosse and a certain boundary leading from 
Newditch to Taddulcrosse between the land of the 
Abbey of Margam and the land of the Abbey of 
Teokesburie on the east and a certain stream called 
Blaklaak which used to run from the southern water 
to the northern water of Kenfesf on the west and the 
middle of the water-course of Kenfeg- on the north 
running from Howlotesford to the sea and the high- 
way leading from Taddulcrosse to the cross and so from 
the said cross to Blaklaak on the south. And that no 
stranger outside the fair or market within the aforesaid 
bounds shall buy any merchandise of any stranger but 
only of our burgesses of the same, except the denizens 
of Glamorgan and Morgan for their victuals and 
not by way of trade. Nor shall any one keep an open 
shop of any merchandise nor tavern nor make 


"corf"^ in our aforesaid vill unless he shall be of 
lot and scot with our aforesaid burgesses and 
received into the guild of their merchants. 

Also we have granted to our same burgesses that 
they and their heirs can make a guild among them- 
selves for their profit at what time and whensoever 
they shall wish. And that they ought not to be dis- 
trained for the debt of any except they be debtors or 
pledges for the same. And that no bailiff or minister 
of ours by colour of his bailiwick shall make summonses 
or attachments or take distraints within the aforesaid 
bounds excepting only the aforesaid constable and the 
bailiffs of the same vill who shall be elected by the 
burgesses themselves. 

We have further granted to our aforesaid burgesses 
that all merchants as well clothiers, cobblers, pelterers,^ 
and glovers, as divers others who live by buying and 
selling within our lordship of Glamorgan and Morgan, 
ought to dwell in the vills of the borough and not 
"upland." And that they shall do all manner of 
trading in the fairs markets and vills of the borough 
and not elsewhere. And also all merchants with their 
merchandise shall not travel otherwise than along the 
highways and through the vills of the borough, so that 
neither we nor our heirs lose our toll or other the 
customs due to us at any time. 

And that neither our aforesaid burgesses nor their 

' " Corf " is probably a mistake for " cervisiam," the word 
being contracted in the original, and " e " is easily confused with 
" o." Cervisia (beer) seems to be the only word that would 
make sense. 

^ A dealer in raw hides. 


heirs shall keep any watch or guard any fugitive in 
any church outside the walls of our aforesaid vill. 

We have also granted to our aforesaid burgesses, 
not willing that our same burgesses be bound by 
ordinances and proclamations {clamationes) made in 
our county of Glamorgan at any time, that by ordi- 
nance of the constable aforesaid they can freely make 
ordinances and proclamations of the assize of bread 
and beer ^ and divers other things touching the same 

o o 

vill, at their will, whenever it shall be necessary to the 
improvement of the same vill and the profit of the 

Furthermore, we have granted to our aforesaid 
burofesses that there shall be two fairs in our same 
vill in each year as there used to be in the time of our 
ancestors, that is to say, a fair which begins on the 
eve of St. James the Apostle, lasting for eight days 
followinor. In which fair moreover the aforesaid 
constable or provost shall take our toll and other 
customs due to us, and that further in the same fair 
the aforesaid constable or provost shall hold all pleas 
of the Crown of all felonies done within the bounds of 
the liberty of the same vill during that fair, and other 
the pleas of trespass, debts and agreements and divers 
other the contracts wherever they be made. And we 
have granted to the aforesaid burgesses that during 
the aforesaid fair, no merchant shall buy or sell any 

' " Assize of Bread and Beer. A franchise conferred on lords of 
manors from a very early period, the frauds in these trades being 
severely punished ; by a statute of Henry III. a baker breaking 
an assize was liable to be condemned to the pillory, and knavish 
brewers to the tumbril, or dung-cart." — Gasquet, " The Manors." 


merchandise outside that fair between Rempny ^ and 
Polthcanan ^ under forfeiture of the same merchandise 
and heavy amercement. And the other fair is on the 
Tuesday in Whitsun week, which fair shall be free of 
toll on the eve and the day following. 

We have furthermore granted to our aforesaid 
burgesses that the constable or provost of our vill 
aforesaid shall hold the pleas called pie poudre from 
day to day whenever it shall be necessary. And all 
other the pleas shall be determined from month to 
month before the Sheriff of Glamorgan in the court 
of our aforesaid vill. 

We have granted also that our constable of Kenfeg 
for the time being shall perform the office of coroner 
on all fatalities happening within the aforesaid liberty. 

Furthermore, we have granted to our aforesaid 
burgesses that they and their heirs shall have common 
pasture in the common pastures which they have used 
from ancient times for pasturing their cattle and for 
other easements in the same, as they were accustomed 
to have in the time of our ancestors. 

We moreover, holding the aforesaid gifts and grants 
ratified and gratified, grant the same for us and our 
heirs to our aforesaid burgesses and confirm the same 
which by the tenor of the presents we renew. Willing 
and granting for us and our heirs that the aforesaid 
charter in all and singular its articles be for ever 
firmly and unchangeably observed, even if any articles 
contained in the same charter may not hitherto per- 

^ Rumney River. 

2 PwU Cynan in Crymlyn Bog, between Briton Ferry and 



chance have been observed. In witness whereof 
we have ordered to be affixed to this present charter 
the seal of our chancery of Kaerdiyf These being 
the witnesses, the reverend fathers, Henry, Abbot 
of Margam, Thomas, Abbot of Neth, Dom John de 
Coventry, Archdeacon of Landaff and warden of the 
lordship of Glamorgan and Morgan, Sirs Richard de 
Thurberville, John le Norreis, John de la Seer, Elyas 
Basset, knights, and others. 

Given at Kaerdyf, the fourteenth day of May in the 
year of the reign of King Edward the third after the 
conquest the thirty-fourth [a.d. 1360]. 

We moreover the aforesaid Thomas le Despenser 
of our special grace have granted to our aforesaid 
burgesses and their successors that they shall have 
one hayward upon the same their (pasture) called le 
Rugge which extends in length from Catput to the 
Rugge of Coitiff (Coity) and in breadth from Keven- 
cribor to the water running from Lowerkesmore ^ to 
Kenfeg, which hayward, if he shall find others 
except burgesses of our aforesaid vill occupying the 
said pasture with their catde shall cause them to 
be attached and shall present the attachment at the 
hundred court of our aforesaid vill, and they shall there 
be amerced according to the extent of their offence. 

We have further granted to our aforesaid burgesses 
and their successors one common pasture called le 
Doune of Kenfeg which extends in length from the 
Earl's meadow to Goutesfurlong of the Abbot of 
Neth, and in breadth from Wadeslond which William 

' Llywarch's moor, so named from Llywarch, son of Mere- 
dydd, now called Hirwaun Margam. 


Stiward holds to the Burrows of Kenfeg, upon which 
pasture the said hayward shall make attachments for 
our advantage. And if any of the burgesses of our 
aforesaid vill shall happen at any time to be attached 
to our county of Glamorgan, we will and grant that a 
moiety of the panel, which ought to be taken con- 
cerning the matter, be of burgesses of our aforesaid 
vill, and the other moiety of the neighbourhood. 

We have further granted to our aforesaid burgesses 
one hundred perticas of land in augmentation of their 
franchise, namely from the chapel of St. Mary 
Magdalene on the east, and round about the ancient 
bounds and limits of the said borough of Kenfeg, 
ratifying and confirming for ever by the presents for 
us and for our heirs all the aforesaid liberties, as well 
new ones by us instituted, as those formerly given by 
our aforesaid ancestors to our aforesaid burgesses of 
Kenfeg and their successors. 

In witness of which thing to this present charter we 
have ordered to be affixed the seal of our chancery of 
Kaerdif These being the witnesses, Sir John of St. 
John, then our Sheriff of Glamorgan, Sir William 
Stradelyng, Knight, John Basset, Robert Walssche 
and John le Eyr and others. 

Given at Kaerdyf, the sixteenth day of February in 
the year of the reign of King Richard the Second 
after the conquest, the twentieth. 

The following charters are by Richard Beauchamp, 
Earl of Worcester, and Isabel le Despenser, his 
Countess. Isabel was the daughter of Thomas le 
Despenser, the grantor of the preceding charter. She 
married Richard Beauchamp who became lord of 


CCCXXXII. Richard, Earl of Worcester, Con- 
firmation OF Charter to the Burgesses of 

(Cartae . . . quae ad Glamorgan pertinent.) 

Curante G. T. Clark, vol. ii. p. 96. 
I May. 9 Hen V. 142 1. 

Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Worcester, Lord le 
Despenser and of Bergavenny, to all faithful people 
to whom this present writing shall come, greeting. 

We have inspected the confirmation of Thomas Le 
Despenser and Lady Elizabeth, his consort, which 
he made to our burgesses of Kenfig concerning their 
liberties in these words. {Vide C. CCCX.) 

And we therefore the aforesaid Richard Beauchamp, 
Earl of Worcester, because by the charters of our pro- 
genitors it was granted to our aforesaid burgesses that 
if any of our burgesses of our vill aforesaid shall 
happen to be attached any time to our county of 
Glamorgan that a moiety of the panel which ought 
to be taken concerning them be of the borough of 
our aforesaid vill and the other moiety of the neigh- 
bourhood, and now at the supplication of the aforesaid 
burgesses of our aforesaid vill, have granted (that as 
often as it shall happen that any) of the said bur- 
gesses at any future time be attached to our county 
of Glamorgan that an inquisition thereof be made 
concerning them in the manner abovesaid at the 
first, second and third commote of Glamorgan, after 
which (it shall happen) that they or any of (them who 
there ought to be attached so he be not) a common or 
notorious thief. And further, holding the said gifts 


and grants ratified and gratified, we grant and con- 
firm the same for us and our heirs to the said bur- 
gesses, and by the tenor of these presents renew the 
same. Willinor and g-rantinp' for ever for us and for 
our heirs that the aforesaid charter of our confirma- 
tion and of our gift aforesaid in all and singular its 
articles shall be firmly and unchangeably observed, 
any interruptions notwithstanding. In witness of 
which thing to this our present charter of confirma- 
tion and gift we have affixed the seal of our chancery 
of Kaerdiff. These being the witnesses, the reverend 
men, William, Abbot of Margam, Lleisant, the Abbot 
of Neth, John Stradelyng, then our Sheriff of Glamor- 
gan and Morgan, John St. John, Oliver St. John, 
Gilbert Denys, and Edward Stradelyng, knights, 
John Laurence, Robert Walsshe and Walter Moreton, 
esquires, and many others. Witnessed by myself at 
Kaerdif, the first day of May in the year of the reign 
of King Henry the fifth after the Conquest, the ninth. 

Note. — The words in brackets above are apparently incom- 
plete. They are thus bracketed in the book. 

C. CCCXXXVII. Isabel, Countess of Worcester. 
Confirmation Charter to the Burgesses of 

(Cartae . . . quae ad Glamorgan penitent.) 

Curante G. T. Clark, vol. ii. p. loi. 
I May, I Hen. VI. 1423. 

Isabell, Countess of Worcester, Lady de Despenser 
of Glamorgan and Morgan, to all the faithful in Christ 
to whom this present writing shall come, greeting. 


We have inspected the confirmation of Thomas le 
Despenser, lord of Glamorgan and Morgan, our 
father, in these words. [Vide C. CCCX.) Here 
follows the Inspeximus of Thomas le Despenser. 

And we therefore, the aforesaid Isabel, Countess of 
Worcester, Lady le Despenser of Glamorgan and 
Morgan, because by the charter of our progenitor, 
etc. i^Vide C. CCCXXXII.) 

Here follows the charter of Richard Earl of 

With these witnesses : the reverend men, William, 
Abbot of Margam, Lleisant, the Abbot of Neth, John 
Stradelyng, then Sheriff of Glamorgan, John St. John, 
Oliver St. John, and Edward Stradelyng, knights, 
John Laurence, Robert Walsshe, Walter Moreton, 
esquires, and many others. Witnessed by myself at 
Kaerdiff, the first day of May in the year of the 
reign of King Henry the sixth after the conquest, 
the first. 

Lord Thomas recites and confirms his father's 
charter, which granted to the burgesses of Kenfig 
certain liberties for ever. 

For the first time we have a description of the 
boundary of the ancient borough, but it is not easy 
to follow. 

I have no doubt " Newditch " is the new ditch, 

or leat, constructed for conveying the water necessary 

for working Llanfihangel Mill ' from the Kenfig 

river ; and the point at which the ditch starts from 

^ St. Michael's Alill. 


the river is the parish boundary on the east as it 
is to-day ; from this point the boundary follows an 
imaginary line along the middle of the Kenfig river 
to the sea and forms the northern boundary. From 
this same point the boundary passes south to a 
stone on the roadside named Groes Siencyn, thence 
to a stone in Cae Pwll-y-Cyffylau,^ from that point 
to Groes-y-Gryn, or perhaps Groes-y-gryniau — the 
cross of muttering. No cross remains here : from 
its name it was probably a prayer- or weeping-cross. 
The cross stood near the present blacksmith's shop 
at the intersection of Heol-las and Heol-y-sheet, 
then to a stone in Hoel-y- Broome, then to a stone 
in Y Cae Isaf and to a stone in the road at the point 
where it debouches on to Kenfig Down, and thence 
through Sker Farm building, called Ty-yr-Ychen,^ to 
the sea at Gwter-y-cwn,3 the low-water mark forming 
the boundary on the western side. From Gwter- 
y-cwn to the point called "Newditch" the boundary 
is the same for parish and borough. From " New- 
ditch " the parliamentary boundary and that of the 
lordship take in part of the parish of Margam — upper 
Kenfig — and part of Trissent,4 the line passing north 
from " Newditch " to a point near Cae-garw,5 thence 
north-west to the Pumpeius Carantorius Stone near 
Eglwysnynydd, and from there to the sea. 

^ The field of the horses' pool. 

2 Oxen's house. 3 Dogs' ditch. 

4 Trisaint, so called from the chapel near Hafodbeulog, 
dedicated to three saints, probably SS. Philip and James 
and St. Michael. 

5 Cae-garw, rough or coarse field. 


The ancient boundary clearly refers only to the 
boundary as is represented by the bounds of the 
parish. From " Newditch " to Taddulcrosse, Groes- 
y-dadl, to which I will refer later, is easy. But on 
the west " the stream called Blaklaak, which used to 
run, or formerly ran, from the southern water to the 
northern water of Kenfig," is a puzzle. 

In a deed of confirmation by Robert Earl of 
Gloucester of the gifts of Maurice de Londres and 
Gilbert de Turberville to Ewenny Priory, he adds on 
his own account twenty-one acres of arable land 
adjoining the town of Kenefec, with a burgage in the 
west street as far as the black water without the gate 
of the town of Kenefeke. 

This certainly points to a "Black River" on the 
west of the town. The deed would be about 1139- 

The Latin text is : " Et addo ex parte mea viginti 
et unam acram terrae arabilis juxta villam de Kenefec, 
cum uno burgagio in vico occidentali usque ad aquam 
nigram extra portam villae de Kenefeke." 

It appears clear from the charter and this deed of 
Robert Earl of Gloucester that a river ran at one 
time on the west of the town. The conclusion seems 
to me irresistible that the stream, the Black River, 
was the overflow of the waters of the Pool into the 
Kenfig river. 

From the west the description jumps to the north 
" and the middle of the water-course of Kenfig on the 
north running from Howlotesford to the sea " : this is 
as it is to-day. Howlotesford is not known, but it is 
either the ford of the Owlet or Heolan-tes-ford — the 


ford of the sunny lane. I believe this is the lane 
passing Llanfihangel mill on the way to Llanfihangel 

The reference in the charter to the burgesses not 
being liable to keep any watch or guard any fugitive 
in any church outside of our vill,^ means the watching 
of any person who, flying from the law officers, had 
gained a church having the privilege of sanctuary, 
claimed safety from his pursuers. A Margam MS. 
gives us an instance of this privilege. John Smith, 
Bishop of Llandaff, issued a certificate, T. 267 
(C. MCCLXXXI), declaring that the Llangynwyd 
tenants of Margam Abbey are exempt from eccle- 
siastical taxation, and are therefore not to be taxed 
for the escape of Jevan Glas, who had taken refuge 
at the step of the church of Llangonyth, Llangynwyd, 
the parishioners, in accordance with the custom and 
practice of the county, being bound to set a watch 
over him for forty days under penalty of a hundred 
shillings. In consequence of which, the said penalty 
had been laid upon the parishioners. Llandaff, 5 July, 
A.D. 1477. 

The reference that all merchants and divers others 
who live by buying and selling within the lordship 
ought to live in the vills of the borough and not 
" upland " means that they are to live within the 
boroughs and not in the land beyond, i.e., the waste 
or upland, in the latter case escaping contributions 
exacted by the town authorities. 

Although certain churches had a special right 
of sanctuary, to some extent every church and 
^ Vill, the Normans' name for an urban district. 


churchyard shared in the privileges of sanctuary ; 
people in danger of life or liberty frequently took 
refuge in the churches. Property was often placed 
in the church for safety. The churchyard also gave 
protection. Ordericus Vitalis relates that the villagers 
in time of war sometimes removed themselves and all 
their goods there, and built themselves huts within 
the precincts, and were left unmolested.' We have 
seen how the inhabitants of Kenfig sought sanctuary 
in the church and cemetery that Easter-time in 
A.D. 1232, when the Welsh under Morgan Gam, 
lord of Afan, tried to capture the castle. They 
were not molested, to the surprise of the narrator, 
sanctuary being respected. 

I always wondered what became of the person who 
had found sanctuary in a church, for he could not live 
in the church like the church-mouse — he would fall, 
sooner or later, into the hands of his pursuers ; now 
I can give you this information. 

"It was provided that when a thief, manslayer, or 
other malefactor, availed himself of the very ancient 
custom of privilege of sanctuary, that is, fled to 
obtain the protection afforded by the Church, the 
Coroner was to summon all the good and lawful 
men of his neighbourhood, and to cause the abjura- 
tion of the realm of the fugitive in the following 
manner. The felon was to be brought to the 
church door, a seaport was assigned for him by the 
Coroner, and then the felon abjured the realm. A 
time-allowance was o^iven to him to reach the sea- 
port, and he was to be set on his journey on the 
' Cutts' *' Parish Priests," etc., in part. 


King's highway bearing in his hand a cross, being 
commanded to depart the realm as speedily as 
possible, turning neither to the right hand nor upon 
the left. This privilege entailed perpetual banish- 
ment into a foreign Christian country. His lands 
were escheated ; his chattels were forfeited ; and if 
he came back he was outlawed.'" 

This may have been a good way of getting rid of 
an undesirable, but bad for the Christian country 
on which he thrust himself. 

In a deed among the Margam MSS., the 
sanctuary of the chapel of Cornell is mentioned. It 
does not mean, however, in this case that the chapel 
possessed the privilege of sanctuary. See footnote 
page T^. 

The privilege of sanctuary must have been some- 
what rare. Leland in his "Collectanea" only men- 
tions Morgan abbat. Cistert. (Com. Glamorgan) : Has 
the privilege of sanctuary, but it is very rarely, if 
ever, made use of by the Welsh. 

Nethe abbat. Cistert. (Com. Glamorgan) : Has 
the privilege of sanctuary ; seldom used. 

Edward de Despenser granted the burgesses the 
right to make their own ordinances and proclama- 
tions of the assize of bread and beer and divers other 
things, not wishing his burgesses to be bound by 
ordinances and proclamations made in his county of 
Glamorgan. This was giving the burgesses of Kenfig 
great liberty and independence. A copy of the ordi- 
nances for the government of the town of a.d. 1330, 

^ ** Statutes of Wales," Ivor Bowen, barrister-at-law (T. Fisher 


altered and added to from time to time, will be given 
in its place. 

A grant of two fairs is made in each year, " as there 
used to be in the time of our ancestors." One of the 
fairs began on the eve of St. James, and lasted eight 
days after. This was the Gwyl Mabsant, the Patronal 
Festival, the church being dedicated to St, James. 

Gwyl is the Welsh for festival. Originally it meant 
the vigil or watch that was kept the evening preceding 
a Holy Day. It is the same as the Latin vigilia — "a 
watch." Salesbury, in his " Dictionary," 1547, gives 
"Gwyl, ne vysilia — vigyll." 

In the course of time the term " gwyl " came to be 
applied to the festival itself 

In the Myvyrian Brut y Tywysogion we are told 
that Joseph, Bishop of Llandaff, in a.d. 1030, 
" reformed the Festivals of Patron Saints, Gwyliau 
Mabsant, so that they were to be reserved entirely 
for prayer to God, showing good works, almsgiving, 
and a due remembrance of God and His Saints and of 
their prayer — worthy works." 

Again, we are told that Uchtryd, Bishop of Llandaff, 
who died in a.d. 1146, "reformed the Sundays and 
the Holy Days, and Festivals of Patron Saints, 
y Suliau a'r Gwyliau, a Gwyliau Mabsant, and 
caused them to be observed with religious services 
(yn olychwydawl) where that had not been done 
willingly and customarily." 

The Gwyl Mabsant was an important event in the 
social life of the Welsh people ; the time was observed 
as a general holiday. In days gone by it would pro- 
bably be the most important and joyous event con- 


nected with a parish, and it edipsed every other 
festival. Old and young looked forward to it, and 
those who had left the parish to live elsewhere made 
a point of paying a visit to their old homes during its 
continuance. Great preparations were made for it, 
everybody kept open house, and there was a general 
welcome to those who came from a distance. 

By the early part of the last century the Gwyl 
Mabsant had lost its religious character entirely, and 
had become a festival for different kinds of rustic 
games and sport, trials of strength and agility, dancing 
(several old people have told me of the dancing at 
Margam and Kenfig, and it seems to have been the 
great attraction), feasting, drinking, and every kind of 

In Mr. I. C. Hughes's " Merch o'r Sker" is an 
amusing reference to a Mabsant at the " Black Lion " 
in Newton Nottage. While dancing and drinking 
were at their height a man of singular aspect was 
seen approaching the " Black Lion." In his hand he 
carried a long wand, holding it by the middle. There 
was something extraordinary and out of the common 
in his appearance. His eyes seemed to be burning in 
their sockets, and fire seemed to flash from them. 
The strange-looking man gave three loud taps on 
the door, and on being admitted profound silence 

" Young men and young women,'" he thundered, 
" if you will not cease this very moment to carry on 
your carnal pleasure and ungodliness, every one of 

' In substance from "The Welsh Calendar,'' the Rev. J. 
Fisher, D.D. 


you will be flung head-foremost through the window 
on to the dunghill below, and will be dancing to the 
music of the damned in hell within five minutes." 

No more was needed to be uttered by him, for the 
majority present recognised the old man as Siencyn 
Penhydd, who was believed to possess power to bring 
about things that no other mortal could, and quickly 
every one rushed to the door and left with all speed. 

In the early part of the last century Siencyn 
Penhydd, called at Underbill, the house in which 
I live, to ask Mr. Philip Jones, the manager of the 
works of the Old English Copper Company, to use 
his influence in freeing a native of the village who 
had been carried off by a press-gang for the navy. 
Mr. Jones refused, upon which Siencyn warned him that 
he would be sorry for refusing and left. Siencyn had 
not gone far before he heard some one calling him 
back. One of Mr. Jones's daughters had fallen down 
the stairs and was injured. Siencyn got what he had 
asked for. 

I have before me a copy of a memorandum that 
Mr. Jones was admitted a burgess of Kenfig on the 
13th of June, 1808. This was kindly shown to me 
by Mr. G. Prichard, of Bryntirion, a relative. 

In time its riotous character brought the Gwyl 
Mabsant into disrepute, and eventually determined its 

Mabsant is composed oimab in the sense of " man," 
and the adjective sant, " holy." He was the typical 
" holy man " connected with the parish. 

The earliest use of the word mabsant is probably in 
an eulogy of the Welsh patron saints, Canu y Dewi, 


by Gwynfardd Brycheiniog, a.d. i 160-1220 {Myv. 
Arch., 194). The friar-bard, y Brawd Fadawg ap 
Gwalter, a.d. i 250-1 300 (ib., 275), addresses the 
Archangel Michael as Mihangel fy Mabsant.^ 

A court was held during the fair, presided over by 
the constable or provost. All merchants were pro- 
hibited from selling or buying outside the fair between 
Rhymney river and Pwll Cynan in Crymlyn Burrows, 
between Briton Ferry and Swansea. The prohibition 
doubtless brought together a great concourse of 
merchants, and the fair must have been an important 
event in the county. 

The second fair was held on the Tuesday in 
Whitsun week. 

The charter grants to the burg-esses that the constable 
or provost shall hold the pleas called Pie Poudre from 
day to day (presumably during the fair). This was a 
court formerly held at a fair on St. Giles's hill, near 
Winchester. It was originally authorised by the 
Bishop of Winton from a grant of Edward IV. 
Similar courts were held elsewhere at wakes and 
fairs for the rough-and-ready treatment of dishonest 
pedlars and hawkers, to compel them and those with 
whom they dealt to fulfil their contracts. French, 
pied poudreux — dusty foot. i\ vagabond is called in 
French pied poudreux. 

" Have its proceedings disallowed or 
Allowed, at fancy of pie-powder." 

Butler, " Hudibras," pt. ii. 2.^ 

I <i 

The Welsh Calendar," by the Rev. J. Fisher, D.D. 
^ " Dictionary of Phrase and Fable," by Rev. E. Cobham 
Brewer, LL.D. 


The constable of Kenfig was to exercise the office 
of coroner. Extensive common rights were oriven 

o o 

the burgesses by the charter. 

Amonor the witnesses to the charter are the reverend 
fathers, Henry, Abbot of Margam, and Thomas, 
Abbot of Neth (Neath). 

Following this, Thomas, Lord le Despenser, gives 
the burgesses certain rights upon the Rugge, or Cefn 
Cribwr, extending from Catput, Pwll-y-gath, to the 
Rugge of Coitiff (Coity). In breadth from Cefn Cribwr 
to the stream running from Lowerkesmore, Llwyarch's 
moor, to Kenfeg. Also the common of Kenfig Down 
— which extends in length from the Earl's meadow to 
Goutesfurlong of the Abbot of Neth, and in breadth 
from Wadeslond to the Burrows of Kenfeo-. I am 
not able to identify these names, Goutesfurlong and 

He also grants to the burgesses lOO perticas of land 
in increase of their franchise. This is from the chapel 
of St. Mary Magdalene on the east and round about 
the ancient bounds and limits of the said borough of 
Kenfeg. A pertica is a rod or pole — a piece of land 
measured by a rod. I think pertica must have meant 
more than a perch, and one result of the increase 
probably was the extension of the boundary from 
Taddulcrosse, which is mentioned as being one point 
in the boundary eastward to the River Kenfig. 

The other charters are simply confirmation charters, 
and call for no remarks. 




I THINK it may be interesting at this point to 
show, by quoting from the monastic deeds of 
Margam Abbey, how that powerful corporation 
increased its possessions in Kenfig. Also I shall 
mention some of the sales and exchanges of lands 
and tenements among other persons besides the 

William Earl of Gloucester notifies, T., 544, 9 
(C. MCCCXCVIII), that he gives to Helias the clerk 
five acres of land at Kenefeg, lying between the land 
which belonged to Robert Passelewe and that which 
the Earl gave to Gregory de Turri and to the said 
Helias. Helias to pay to the Earl's son, Robert, 
yearly three decii of ivory. Witness : The Countess 

The Earl also gave ' T., 544, 8, to Gregory, son of 
Robert, three shillingsworth of land in Margam, viz., 
twenty acres of land and a burgage at Kenfig. This 
is interesting as showing that Kenfig was in, what is 

^ Hawisia died in a.d. 1197. 

9 "9 


termed in another deed, the hundred of Margam. 
Margam evidently embraced a far larger area than it 
does to-day. The value of twenty acres of land is put 
at three shillings. 

Gregory, by the Earl's consent, gave this land to 
Helias his clerk, at a rent of one pound of cumin ^ 
yearly. Witness : The Countess Hawisia. 

Helyas de Turre in a deed, T. 5 (C. DCXXXVII), 
grants to Margam Abbey, for the soul of his lord 
Gregory, the land which William Earl of Gloucester 
gave to Lord Gregory and the grantor at Kenefeh, 
within and without the vill. This is an early deed, as 
William Earl of Gloucester succeeded his father in 
A.D. 1 147 and died in a.d. 1187. 

Conan,2 the Abbot of Margam, re-granted, T. 6 
(C. DCXXXVII I), to the nephews of Helyas, Gregory 
and John, all the land which William Earl of 
Gloucester gave to Gregory de Turri and Helias 
his clerk, at Kenefeg, both within and without the 
vill, and which the said Helias, with assent of the 
Earl and of William, son of Gregory, gave to 
the Abbey at a yearly rent of one pound of pepper 3 
at Michaelmas, saving to the mother of Helias her 
dower which she holds for life, and to the father and 
mother of John, their tenement for life. On the death 
of Helias's mother the land was to be divided between 
Gregory and John. The messuage in which she 
dwelt to be included in Gregory's share. 

' Cumin — caraway seed ; Latin, cumimim. 
^ Circa A.D. 1170-1188. 

3 The cumin of the former deed is replaced by pepper 
in this. 


Conan was Abbot of Margam at the time Baldwin, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, visited the Abbey when 
preaching the Crusade in Wales, in a.d. 1188. 
Giraldus Cambrensis, who accompanied the Arch- 
bishop, mentions that after the Archbishop had 
celebrated Mass at the high altar at Llandaff 
Cathedral "we immediately pursued our way by 
the little cell of Ewenith [Ewenny] to the noble 
Cistercian Monastery of Margam. This monastery, 
under the direction of Conan, a learned and prudent 
abbot, was at this time more celebrated for its 
charitable deeds than any other of that order in 
Wales. On this account it is an undoubted fact 
that, as a reward for that abundant charity which the 
monastery had always in time of need exercised 
towards strangers and poor persons, in a season of 
approaching famine, their corn and provision were 
perceptibly by Divine assistance increased, like the 
widow's cruse of oil by the means of the prophet 

The Earl later, on the death of his son Robert, ^ 
granted, T. 544,10 (C. MCCCXCIX), to the Lady 
Alienor, Queen of England, the three decii of ivory 
which Helias paid yearly for the five acres of land at 
Kenefeg. Helias de Turre, or Turri, was clerk or 
chaplain to Lady Alienora, Queen Consort of King 
Henry H. 

William, son of Gregory, in a deed, T. 4 

(C. DCXXXVI), granted the pound of cumin to 

Margam Abbey, which Helias de Turri used to pay 

for his land in the town of Chenefeh. Earl William 

* Robert died 11 66 a.d. 


confirmed this gift to the Abbey at William de Turn's 

An interesting document is a grant by William 
Earl of Gloucester to Richard de Kardiff, T. 289, 66 
(C. DXCIII). This deed embraces a considerable 
part of Kenfig. 

The Earl notifies to his dapifer, or steward, and 
sheriff of Glamorgan, and all his barons and men, 
French, English, and Welsh, that he has given to 
Richard de Kardiff, for his services, the New-Town 
in Margan, with all its appurtenances, beginning at 
the old dyke, which begins at the sea-shore, and 
running along Dewiscumbe as far as the dyke from 
S. Tudoc's,^ then to Alweiscnappe and Bulluches- 
brue,2 then as far as the Vale of Corneli, then to 
Dane's Vale, then to Catteshole,3 then direct to the 
sea-shore along the valley to Baien which is in 
SablunoA The boundaries of the meadows which 
appertain to this New-Town, as well as the above, 
are from the ford of Baithan 5 to the high-road from 
Langewy ^ to Treikic.7 

We shall see why Richard de Cardiff claimed to be 
the owner of Sker. 

We have already, in pages 73, 80, and 81, met 

' S. Tudoc, Tythegston. 

= Alweiscnappe and Bulluchesbruhe. I give the probable 
derivations further on. 

3 Dane's Vale is between Marias and the Hall. Catteshole, 

♦ Sahluno^ an error, doubtless, for Sabulo, on the sands. 

5 Baithan, Baiden : a lively little brook. 

^ Langewy, Llangewydd, church of St. Cewydd. 

7 Treikic, Tre-y-gedd near Baiden. 




with the name Peiteuin ; a grant by Espus, son of 
Caradoc Du, also gives us this name ; which is no 
longer in use. 

Espus grants, T. 15, 289, 9 (C. DCLVII), to the 
Abbey of Margam all his land on the fee of Peittevin 
in the territory of Kenefek at a rent of half a mark 
yearly, with three marks, the rent of six years, paid 
beforehand. If he dies before he has an heir by his 
wife, the daughter of Rees, son of Euhan, the Abbot 
to hold all the land in frank almoign ; if he has an 
heir, then twelve acres and his body for burial in the 
Abbey, and two shillings abated from the rent. One 
of the witnesses, Canethur or Canaithur Du, occurs 
circa a.d. 1200, temp. Morgan ap Caradoc. 

Peitheuin, Peiteuin, Peytevin, Petetevin, Petuien, 
the land of Peyteuin, as it is variously spelled, is inter- 
preted by the late Mr. Clark in his " Cartse," as 
meaning the land of the Poictevine. In his " Land of 
Morgan," p. 70, Mr. Clark calls it the Manor of 
Pettun. Peiteuin is the ancient name for Pyle. 
This is clearly shown from some of the MSS. of 
Margam. The name is probably derived from 
pydewau (pits, wells, or quags), and so called from the 
pits or quarries for limestone, of which there are 
many ; some of them doubdess were worked many 
centuries ago. Or it may be the land of the Poitevin, 
or native of Poitou in France, perhaps a soldier in 
the service of the Norman knights. 

Sir Edward Mansell, in reply to complaints of the 
Earl of Pembroke, says, "And on the west lieth the 
Manor of Pitteuin or Pile." 

A son of John Du, Ketherech, gives, T. 16 


(C. DCCLXXIII), in the same Manor, to Margam 
Abbey, five acres of land in his free tenement in the 
land of Peitheuin near the old highway which leads 
from Kenefec towards Cardiff alonor the vill of Walter 
Lupellus or Luvel, viz., North Corneli. 

Walter Lupellus bore on one of his seals a wolf for 
Lupellus, and on another, an ornamental fleur-de-lis. 

Katherech later demised and bequeathed to the 
Abbey, T. 17 (C. DCXXXIII), fifteen acres of land 
in the land of the Peiteuin adjacent to the five 
acres of the previous deed. Under seal of the Prior 
of Oweni (Ewenny), as the grantor has no seal. 

Witnesses : William Killimichel ; Eniaw son of 
Richered ; Bruel ; Ketherech son of Caradoc Du ; 
Griffin son of Kneithur ab Herebert, his kinsmen and 
" nepotes," who have sworn to observe the conditions 
of the deed on the holy reliques at Margam Church ; 
together with Tanguistell, his wife, Conan, Abbot 
of Margam ; James, Prior ; Roger, cellarer ; William, 
porter ; Godefrey, monk ; Jordan, conversus ; Roger, 
hospital conversus ; Gregory ; John, master of the 
Grange, probably the Abbey Grange at Kenfig ; 
Aithan, the clerk ; Robinus, famulus (servant) of the 
hospice ; Ithel, son of Ruwel. 

Gistelard, son of John, son of Belius, by a deed, 
T. 56, 289, 20 (C. DCCLXXVII), granted to Margam, 
Abbey his land near the water of Kenefec ; rent 4s. 
to the lord. Sworn on the reliques at Margam by 
Gistelard, his wife and sons and relations, namely, 
Espus son of Caradoc, Traharn son of Conan and 
Ketherec his brother. 

Gistelard's son Joruard followed his father's example 


and granted by a deed, T. 68 (C. DCCLXXVIII), to 

the Abbey his right to the land of Jeovaf his grand- 
father at Catteput, Pwll-y-gath, twelve acres. This 
land is near that of Hugh de Hereford. Twelve 
acres and one acre of meadow and sixteen acres at 
Cornell near Walter Luvel's land. 

Tatherech, daughter of Katherech Du, with consent 
of Joruard or Yoruard ab Gistelard her husband, quit- 
claimed her rights to the Abbey, T. 69 (C. DCLV), 
in the land of Peyteuin, sworn on the reliques at 

The seal bears a fish hauriant >J< sigillvm. 

Thaderech, or Tatherech, also by a deed, T. 289, 6 
(C. DCLH), granted to the Abbey all her lands 
in the fee of Peiteuin, at an annual rent of half 
a mark during her life, afterwards of four shillings, 
the remainder two shillings and sixpence being 
remitted for her soul. Six years' rent, three marks, 
paid in advance on the Feast of the Purification of the 
Virgin next after the capture of Griffin son of Res. 

Mr. Clark gives the date as a.d. i 197. The record 
of the capture of Griffin ab Res was an event appa- 
rently of such importance as to be used for calculating 
the dates of deeds. The Glamorganshire Annals pre- 
served in a MS. in the Record Office state that in 
A.D. 1242, " Pacem habuit Griffin ap Reys," and in 
A.D. 1266, "post festum Epiphanie die Sabati, captus 
est Griffinus ap Reys in castro Keredive, postea missus 
ad Kilkennie ad incarcerandum " (C. vol. iii. pp. 557, 

Dr. Birch says that the events related in the deed 


appear to belong to an earlier period than a.d. 1266, 
but it may be that a previous capture of Griffin 
preceded the peace mentioned in the A^mals for the 
year 1242. 

And now the sons of Tatherech uphold their 
mother's gift. Tudur, Cradoc, Knaithur, Alaithur, 
and Gronu, sons of Joruard ab Gistelard and Tathe- 
rech, by a deed, T, 70 (C. DCCLXXIX), quit-claimed 
to the Abbey their right in the land of Peyteuin ; and 
with abjuration, upon the reliques of the Church of 
Margam, of the land of their mother Tatherech.^ 

An early deed, T. 1945, is a notification by William 
Earl of Gloucester to his sheriffs and all his barons 
and Welshmen that he has granted to Hugh de Here- 
ford 100 acres of land in the parish of Kenefech in 

' King John on the 15 May ad. 1207, confirmed the Peyteuin 
land to Margam (but this may have been the land granted by 
Espus son of Caradoc, for the date of his grant is circa a.d. 
1200). He also confirmed to the Abbey among other grants 
that of the burgesses and freemen of Kenfig, holdings within 
and without the vill. 

The Fine Roll for a.d. 1207 contains an entry (C, LXXIV) 
showing that the Abbot of Margam gives to the King 100 marks 
and two good horses for the land of the Welshmen in the 
territory of Kenefeg in free almoign, for which the Abbey used 
to pay 30s. yearly to the King's bailiffs of Glamorgan ; and for 
getting a confirmation charter for their other lands and tene- 
ments in the bailiwick of Glamorgan according to reasonable 
tenour of their charters. 

(C. LXXXIII) this is a copy of a royal acquittance to 
WiUiam, the Abbey cellarer, dated Sunday after St. Matthew's 
Day, a.d. 1207, with delay granted for the delivery of the two 
" palfreys." Bradenstok, co. Wilts, 24 Sep., a.d. 1207. 

At last the two horses were delivered at Lutegar, i.e.^ Ludger- 
shall, CO. Wilts (C. LXXXV), on Sunday after St. Luke's Day, 
18 Oct., a.d. 1207. An acquittance is given for them. 


reward for his service in one of the Earl's castles 
for forty days. Hugh de Hereford seems to have 
been a soldier of fortune and apparently fought on 
alternate sides, if we can judge by the result. 

Witnesses : Hamo, son of Geoffrey the Constable ; 
William, son of Nicholas the Marshal ; Gilbert de 
Turberville ; Geoffrey Sturmi and others. Geoffrey 
Sturmi occurs as a witness to a charter of the Earl's 
of about A.D. 1 166. 

Hugh de Hereford having received the 100 acres, by 
a deed, T. 31 (C. DCXLIV), he granted to Margam 
Abbey all his lands in the arable district of Kenefec, 
as he held it of William Earl of Gloucester, for the 
souls of his lord and others, in pure and perpetual 
almoign. The Abbot, in view of the necessity of the 
granter and his devotion, lends Hugh ten marks, to be 
repaid when he has prevailed on his heirs to assent 
to the agreement between himself and the Abbot. 
Hugh consents, if he dies before the monks get peace- 
able possession of the land, that he will bequeath five 
marks, the moiety of the loan, by way of alms to the 
Abbey. The other five he shall have who restores 
the sealed letter which the Abbot delivered to Hugh 
as a basis of the transaction. The Abbot will give no 
more, whether Hugh be alive or dead, until he has a 
valid title. ^ 

Hugh evidently had difficulty with his heirs ; they 
clearly did not emulate his devotion, and were averse 
to handing over the land to the monks. 

Hugh, full of devotion to the Church, made another 

^ Hugh de Hereford's seal, a sword erect. ^ S i g i l l : 
HvGONis: DE Hereford. 


grant, T. ^'^ (C. DCXLVI). In this deed he granted 
in frank almoign to Margam Abbey thirty acres of 
land on the west of Corneli from the old cemetery to 
the boundary of the land of Walter Luvel ; then to 
the land of Joaf, son of Herebert, then as far as the 
highway, coming from the chapel of Corneli, belong- 
ing to Walter Luvel towards the water ; also the 
moorland adjacent to the other land on the water. 
The charter was offered on the altar at Marram for 
the soul of his lord, William Earl of Gloucester, and 

Hugh seems to have got into difficulties — perhaps 
he took sides against his lord — and he again appeals to 
the monks of Margam for help. T. 34 (C. DXXXI) 
is an acquittance by Hugh to the Abbot and Convent 
of Margam, for nine marks of silver which they had 
lent him to obtain his redemption from his lord, 
William Earl of Gloucester, who had imprisoned him ; 
for which sum he had pledged all his land in Corneli 
except that which he had given to the Abbey as 
above. Of the nine marks, three were delivered 
at the Michaelmas after King Henry II. took the 
cross for going to Jerusalem, the remaining six to 
be paid in twelve years at half a mark yearly, 
because the land is very sterile. Date circa a.d. 

Taking the cross meant going to the Holy Land to 
fiorht under the banner of the Cross for the deliverance 


of the country in which the Saviour died from the 
polluting presence of the infidel Turk. Giraldus 
Cambrensis, who went through Wales with Archbishop 
Baldwin preaching the Crusades, tells us " the same 


evening, Malgo, son of Cadwallon, prince of Melenia, 
after a short but efificacious exhortation from the 
Archbishop, and not without the tears and lamen- 
tations of his friends, was marked with the sign of 
the cross." 

Spenser gives a picture of the knight, full of devo- 
tion to his Lord and Master, going forth to win back 
the Holy Land : — 

" Upon his breast a bloodie Cross he bore, 
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord, 
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge he wore, 
And dead, as Hving, ever Him adored ; 
Upon his shield the like was also scored, 
For sovereign hope which in His help he had." 

Extraordinary enthusiasm was displayed at this 
time in the cause by kings, princes, and knights, 
and even bishops took the Cross and went to 
Palestine. Jocelin of Brakelond, monk of St. 
Edmundsbury, tells us that his abbot wished to go 
to the Holy Land : — 

"21 Jan., A.D. 1188. When King Henry had 
taken the cross and was come less than a month 
later that he might pray among us, the Abbot 
secretly made for himself a cross of linen cloth. Then, 
holding in one hand the cross and a needle and 
thread, he sought leave from the King that he 
might take the cross. But leave was refused him, 
for John bishop of Norwich opposed it, and said 
that it was not well for the land, nor safe for the 
counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, that the bishop of 
Norwich, and the abbot of St. Edmund's should 
go away at the same time." It is strange to us in 


these days to think that at one time it was con- 
sidered unsafe for two counties to be without the 
presence of a bishop and an abbot. " Tempora 
mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis." 

Of course the reason is that the bishop and abbot 
had temporal duties and rights — hanging felons, for 
example, etc. In fact, justices and judges. 

Hugh makes yet another gift, T. 35 (C. DCXVIII), 
to Margam Abbey of land at Corneli, and the deed 
is interesting as showing, as mentioned before, that 
Margam comprised a much larger area than it does 
to-day, and included in its district Kenfig and Corneli. 
The reference to Welsh lands in this deed and in 
others to English and French shows the country 
to have been parcelled out among Welsh, English, 
and French. 

This deed is a grant to the Abbey of all the 
land which Hugh de Hereford holds of the Earl 
of Gloucester in Margam, namely, thirteen acres 
and a half, measuring 27 perches along the Welsh 
lands on the west, and 80 perches along the land 
of Walter Luvel towards the moor ; and his 
meadow to be theirs and any place where they 
can find marl to belong to them, with a wayleave 
for carrying marl to their land. He also grants 
common of pasture throughout all his lands, 
meadows, and crops. 

In a Bull of Pope Urban III. — Harley Charter, 
75, A. I (C. DCXXX)— directed to the Abbot and 
Brethren of Margam, in response to their request, 
taking them under the protection of St. Peter and 
the Pope and ordaining various matters, he confirms 


to them various grants, and among them is the gift of 
arable land by Hugh de Hereford at Kenfig. The 
deed is ratified by the Pope and twelve Cardinals. 
Verona, 18 Nov., a.d. 1186. 

Mr. Clark, in his " Cartae de Glamorgan," gives a 
deed (C. XXXIX) containing letters of John Earl 
of Mortagne,^ afterwards King John of England, to his 
men and friends, French, English, and Welsh, 
notifying his confirmation to Margam Abbey of the 
lands in Kenfig given to it by the burgesses of Kenfig 
in frank almoign ; and also his grant to the Abbey of 
the service of Hugh de Hereford for his land as far as 
belongs to the Earl, provided Hugh is willing to grant 
it — that is, exchange lords. The land was held, as 
in this case, in return for military service, and as 
Margam Abbey became the owner the military 
service due from it would pass to the Abbey. The 
Abbeys held their lands in return for so many knights' 
fees, viz., each Abbey had to find so many knights 
for the King for his wars in return for its holdings. 
Dated at Cardiff, Tuesday before the Feast of St. 
Hilary, a.d. 1193. 

T. 72. (C. DCCVLI) is a quit-claim by Ivor 
Vaghan and his sons Madoc, Leukin, Waleue'S,^ and 

^ John, King Henry II.'s second son, was adopted by Earl 
William as his heir in a.d. 1176. He married one of the Earl's 
daughters and succeeded him as Earl of Gloucester and lord of 
Glamorgan. John divorced the heiress and gave up her 
estates, though, Mr. Clark says, with a very bad grace. John's 
marriage was opposed by Archbishop Baldwin, as both were 
descended from Henry I., and the marriage was within the 
forbidden degrees. On his accession to the throne he 
divorced her. 

» ^ stands for dh. 


Gneithur/ to the Abbey of a right to twelve acres of 
land in the fee of Kenefeg, between Sturmy Moor, 
Cornelidune, and the valley of Mey. Stormy Moor 
and Cornell Down are well known. The valley of 
Mey (Deumay), as before mentioned, lies between the 
road which passes Marias and the Avon Fach. 

A Bull of Pope Innocent III. to Gilibert, Abbot 
of Margam, dated at Anagni, 20 Nov., a.d. 1203, 
confirms to the monastery the grants and gifts made 
to it by various benefactors, among whom are the 
burgesses of Kenefeg and free Welshmen ; one 
hundred acres of arable land in Kenefeg given by 
Kederec, or Ketherech, and a similar quantity by 
Hugh de Hereford. 

I hope my readers will not lay to my pen the 
vagaries in spelling. They are due to the monks, who, 
not knowing Welsh, had to trust to the sounds as the 
words were pronounced ; one may sympathise with 
a testy or partly deaf monk grappling with a 
rough countryman shouting into his ear the difficult 
Welsh names. 

The family, distinguished by the name Du, "black," 
were landowners possessing much property, which 
they freely gave to Margam Abbey. The Du 
family were also connected by marriage with the 
sons of Herbert, son of Godwinet, and also with 
the lords of Afan, Gwenllian daughter of Morgan ap 
Caradoc, married Yoruard — or Yorwerth, as it would 
be spelled to-day — son of Espus Du. One branch 
of the Du family started from John Du, the earliest 

^ ' Sometimes Cnaithur, Knaitho, and Cnaytho. 



John or Jeovat 
i H 

Gistelard Ketherech John 

I I I 


Tatherech = Yoruard Espus Gervase 
D(ii97) I J 

1 Cradoc Cnaithiir Alaythur Gronu Espus 

I I L 

I Geoffrey | | | 

iffin Rired Owen Cradoc Kees 

I y [^246] 

Tudvr Eneaun 

at Cwm 
leli (X) to 

had be- 
near Tor 

H. I beHeve this is Jouaf Trwyn gam (crooked 
nose) who gave lands at Fwll-y-gath to the 

I. Gave lands near Kenlig river. 

L. The brothers quit claimed Peiteuin to the Abbey, 
their mother's land. 

[Insert bchvccii pp. 142, 143. 

[Suss OF Herbert] 


John or Jewan Du 

John or Jeovaf 

(Early days of Abbey) Cradoc Du 

Ketherech Du = Tanguistel 

I I I 

Gistelard Kelheiech John 

John Rigered Kc 

I I I 

Blethin Cnaithur = daughtei 

Madoc fvchan 

II I I 1 I I I I ^•^"'■^^■ 

Rees Ketherech Espus Du = daughter Meuric Goloudeth Tatherech = Yoruard Kspus Gervase 
I E I ofkces D(ii97) I J 
I ap Euhau |^ 

i . - 1 i > I \ \ i 

Tudyr Gam Cradoc Cnaithur Alaythur Gronu ?:spus 

WiUim Madoc Espus Yoruard fychan 

Cradoc Kc 
« [1246] 

' Herbert gave lands near Mangewydd and Storm 

Margain Abbey. 
M. Gave lands at Kbanallt river to Margani Abbey. 
X. Gave lands at Hafodheulog to Margam Abbey', 
o. Gave lands at tSalltcwni and land^ un Ihe rive'r Kfrwd 

to Margam Abbey, 
r. Gave lands at Tre-y-gedd, Mynvdd Uaidcn, lu Ma 

Abbey. His uncle, Ener, same. 
R. Gave lands at Cornell Peileuin to Margam Abbey. 
William Killemichel = Angarat 
(Kinsman of Cnaythur, son of Herbert) 

.1. Juhn Du owned lands at Cwra Cerwii and 

Kfrwdwylll ; he gave land at Peiteuin to 

Margani Abbey. 
H. Gave lands at Peiteuin to Margam Abbey. 
c. Owner of Ty Tanglwys. gave it to Margam 

1). Granted all her father's land at Peilenin to 

Margam Abbey. 
V. Gave Cornell (S) and Peiteuin, which belonged 

to Caradoc Du to Margam Abbey. 

r.. Confirmed his father"; 

Cerwn and Ffrwdwy 
J. Gave land at PwU-y-j 

u. Granted lands at Newcastle 

longed to Ketherech Du (u). 
y. Granted lands in Afan Marsh and near Tor 
1 to Abbey. 

gift of land at Cwm 
alh and Cornell (N) to 

vhich had bc- 

I believe this is Jouaf Trwyn gam (crookeil 
nosel who gave lands at Pwll-v-gath to the 

Gave lands near Kenfig river. 

The biothcrs quit claimed Peiteuin to the Abbey, 



Kalberech Kigen lands at Kenlu 

[Insert hcliciru pp. 142, 143. 


member known to us, and the other from Belius. 
The Du family owned land at Cornell, near Kenfig 
river, Pyle, Newcastle, Bridgend, at Cwmkerwn and 
Ffrwdwyllt. Their kinsmen, the sons of Herbert, 
owned land near Stormi, Baiden, Hafod-heuloug, 
Gallt-y-cwm, and land near Llangynwyd and other 
places. Ketherech Du married Tanguistel, and so 
became owner of Ty Tanglwys land ; the name 
appears as Tangistellond for a long time after. 

The pedigree discloses how great in numbers and in 
influence the related families became. They possessed 
lands reaching from Resolven to Llangeinor. These 
families were also connected by marriage with the 
family of Cradoc ap Jestyn, lords of Afan, as mentioned 
above. Owen Cradoc and Rees bore a banner-flasf 
charged with four chevrons. The pedigree could be 
extended considerably, but so many of the descen- 
dants bore the same name that it would be unreliable, 
and I forbear from risking it further. Some of the 
members of the families became monks of Margam 

Mr. Clark gives a pedigree of the Du family in 
"Cartae," etc., vol. iii. p. 127. 

We have seen that King John, formerly Earl of 
Gloucester and lord of Glamorgan, divorced his wife, 
Countess Isabel. Subsequently she married Geoffrey 
de Mandeville about the end of a.d. 12 13, and he 
was made Earl of Gloucester and lord of Glamorgan, 
owning with his wife Kenfig Castle and lands. 
Geoffrey was fourth Earl of Gloucester, and was also 
Earl of Essex. 

Isabel, the Countess, with consent of her lord, 



member known to us, and the other from Belius. 
The Du family owned land at Cornell, near Kenfig 
river, Pyle, Newcastle, Bridgend, at Cwmkerwn and 
Ffrwdwyllt. Their kinsmen, the sons of Herbert, 
owned land near Stormi, Baiden, Hafod-heuloug, 
Gallt-y-cwm, and land near Llangynwyd and other 
places. Ketherech Du married Tanguistel, and so 
became owner of Ty Tanglwys land ; the name 
appears as Tangistellond for a long time after. 

The pedigree discloses how great in numbers and in 
influence the related families became. They possessed 
lands reaching from Resolven to Llangeinor. These 
families were also connected by marriage with the 
family of Cradoc ap Jestyn, lords of Afan, as mentioned 
above. Owen Cradoc and Rees bore a banner-flae 
charged with four chevrons. The pedigree could be 
extended considerably, but so many of the descen- 
dants bore the same name that it would be unreliable, 
and I forbear from risking it further. Some of the 
members of the families became monks of Margam 

Mr. Clark gives a pedigree of the Du family in 
"Cartae," etc., vol. iii. p. 127. 

We have seen that King John, formerly Earl of 
Gloucester and lord of Glamorgan, divorced his wife. 
Countess Isabel. Subsequently she married Geoffrey 
de Mandeville about the end of a.d. 12 13, and he 
was made Earl of Gloucester and lord of Glamorgan, 
owning with his wife Kenfig Castle and lands. 
Geoffrey was fourth Earl of Gloucester, and was also 
Earl of Essex. 

Isabel, the Countess, with consent of her lord. 


Geoffrey de Mandeville, the Earl of Gloucester, 
grants, T. 113 (C. DCCCXVIII), to Margam Abbey 
various lands in the fee of Kenefeg, viz., the land of 
Peitheuin, the land of Hugh de Hereford, that of the 
Welsh, one burgage in Kenfig town, the grant of 
Gillebert Gramus, which we shall come to later, and 
the grant of the burgesses of Kenefeg, in the town and 
outside, amongst other grants. This means probably 
a confirmation of various grants. It is, however, 
curious that in large grants of lands like the grant of 
Margam to the monks of Clairvaux, referred to before, 
a number of landowners possessed land in the area 
given. We see this in the Du family and the 
Herberts ; they owned land in various parts of 
Margam in the area given to the monks of 


I THINK, after reading so many dry and musty 
documents, it will be pleasant to have a break 
and turn our attention to the town, little as we 
may know of it. We have seen how often the 
town was burnt ; to avoid monotony I have kept 
one burning back, and that occurred on the i8th of 
May, A.D. 1227. The town was set fire to by 
lightning and a horse was killed. The buildings 
at that time were built of wood and easily fired. I 
believe the buildings were in great part of wood when 
the first besanding took place, and this accounts 
for the lack of ruins. The material of the later 
stone-built houses was no doubt carted away. 

Rees Meyrick wrote in a.d. 1578 : " This William ^ 
caused to be rebuilded a Towne for Marchandize 
upon the Sea banks of Kynfege which he retayned, 
with certain parcell of land thereto belonging in his 
own possession." 

Kenfig was a town of trading importance in 
addition to being one of the residences of the 

' William Earl of Gloucester, son of Robert Earl of 

10 ^45 


lords of Glamorgan. It is clear from the above 
that the town was re-built at the instance of William 
the Earl for sea-trading, and therefore it possessed a 
port. In A.D. 1147 the Earl succeeded his father 
Earl Robert, who is also said to have re-built Kenfig 
in A.D. 1 129. 

We find in the Magnus Rotulus Pipae,' or the 
Great Roll of the Pipe, an entry which refers to 
Kenfig as a port. The date is the 31st year of 
Henry II., a.d. i 184-1 185. Earl William died on 
the anniversary of his birth, 23 Nov., a.d. 1183, 
and the lordship of Glamorgan fell into the custody 
of the Crown : hence the reason for the accounts 
of Glamorgan appearing in the Great Roll. 

The entry is : " And in delivery of 24 ships which 
bore the king's timber from Striguil [Chepstow] for 
the work of the Castle of Kenefeg ;^i4 8sh. 3d., by 
the King's writ." 

The inference from this is that the timber was 
sent by sea for the reason that Chepstow and 
Kenfig were seaports on the water-way, the Severn 

In the inspexiimiS" by Thomas le Despenser, 
lord of Glamorgan, on the 16 Feb., a.d. 1397, 
of the confirmation of Edward his father, to the 
bureesses of Kenfig we read : " We have oranted 
also to our aforesaid burgesses that of all merchandise 
coming to or passing through the aforesaid town 
as well by land as by water [italics are mine] an 
inspection shall first be made by our aforesaid con- 

^ Clark's " Cartae et alia Munimenta de Glamorgan." 
» " We have inspected." 


stable or the provost of the town before any thereof 
be sold, under a suitable penalty." 

If goods were not brought to the town from the 
sea the words " by water " would be meaningless. I 
think these quotations show us that Kenfig had a 
shipping trade and therefore possessed a harbour. 

Pondering on this question while walking along 
Kenfig river, I was struck by the canal-like appear- 
ance of the river where it passes through land not 
covered with sand, such as it would be like when Kenfig 
was built ; with a little clearing out, small vessels — 
"shiplettes," as Leland calls them — could pass along 
the river at this point. He wrote of Neath river 
" there cummith up shipplettes almost onto the Toun 
of Neth from the Severn." Of course, in those far-off 
days, the vessels would be very small, something from 
twenty to forty tons. Phillips writes that when King 
Charles I. desired the county of Glamorgan to supply 
a vessel of thirty tons, the reply was, " there was 
not a vessel of that tonnage in the county." 

I have no doubt the flatness of the land through 
which the Kenfig river flows was the reason of its 
depth and suitability then for small craft to ascend. 
The river runs very slowly ; it ran in former days with 
little haste, because its course was through smiling 
meadow-land right to Severn Sea, the banks of the 
river being as they are now where no sand is. The 
water in parts is deep still ; it was several feet deep, 
eight or more, at the time of my visit, and the tide 
had then fallen 3 feet from its highest level. 

We have reason to believe, judging from the situa- 
tion of the grange or homestead of the Hermitage of 


Theodoric, two miles north-west of Kenfig river, now 
in a desolate waste of sand-hills, that the land around 
it was in remote times a fertile tract of land, or the 
farm would not be established there, and so it would 
be at Kenfig. 

In the time when merchandise came to Kenfig 
by sea, the vessels would ascend the river a mile 
or more, judging by levels of a few years ago, but 
it is possible that the river was navigable to the 
town itself. To show the continual process of the 
filling up by sand of the river, in the Ordnance Survey 
of 1876 ordinary tides reached inland four-fifths of a 
mile. In the revision of the Survey in 1897 the 
highest point reached by ordinary tides is only two 
hundred and sixty yards. 

So serious had the besanding become in this neigh- 
bourhood that the attention of the authorities was 
directed to it, as I have before mentioned. The 
former Act of Henry VIII. and the Act of a.d. 1554 
gave the Commissioners full power to act " for the 
withstanding and avoiding of the outrageous course 
and rage of the Sea, or other Waters." 

For a great part of the seven hundred and fifty 
years or thereabouts since William Earl of Gloucester 
caused Kenfig to be re-built the sand has been piling 
itself up and doing its utmost to prevent the Kenfig 
river from reaching the sea, but " even the weariest 
river winds somewhere safe to sea." So does the 
Kenfig to-day. 

It is not possible to form any clear idea of the size 
of the town of Kenfig ; we have faint glimpses of it in 
the monastic deeds of Margam, and also in the Account 


of John Giffard of Brymmesfeld, custodian of the lands 
and tenements which belonged to Gilbert de Clare, 
Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, deceased, being in 
the hands of the King, in Glamorgan and Morgannoc, 
dated in the ninth year of King Edward II. (a.d. 

We find in it a reference to burgages in Kenfig and 
those untenanted by reason of war ; the number would 
indicate that even at that time the town was of con- 
siderable size. 

The entry is under the head : " The Vill of Kenefeg 
with the Castle." 

" Rent of Assize. The same (Brymmesfeld) answers 
for 71 shillings received of rent of assize of one 
hundred burgages of the town of Kenefeg at the 
terms of St. John Baptist and St. Michael. And 
no more because forty-two burgages which were 
accustomed to render for the same time 21s. were 
burnt in the war and the tenants went away and the 
burgages remain empty. And for 4s. 6d. of rent of 
small cottagers^ there at the term of St. Michael. 

" And for 6s. 5d. received of certain rent for castle 
ward at the term of Hokeday,^ and for 35s. of the 
rent of eight free tenants there at the terms St. John 
Baptist, St. James, and St. Michael." 

We have in this document some indication as to the 
size of the town at that date. Rent is received for 
one hundred burgages, and forty-two more untenanted ; 
this gives a total of one hundred and forty-two 
burgages. Eight tenants, called free tenants, although 

' Coterellorum. 

^ Second Tuesday after Easter. 


they paid rent, apparently lived in the castle-bailey, 
raising- the number of tenements to one hundred and 
fifty, without counting the small cottages. 

If we take the number of persons occupying each 
house as we do at the present day the number of the 
population would be about seven hundred and eighty- 
seven. But by A.D. 1 316 I believe the sand had 
already made considerable encroachment, and probably 
many of the houses had been at this time besanded. 
In fact, in the same documents as I have mentioned 
elsewhere only part of the rent for a meadow called 
Conynger was received, the great part having been 
covered by sand. 

When we consider the population of Cardiff in 
A.D. 1 801 was only 1,870, the population of Kenfig at 
the early date of 1316 marks it as a town of consider- 
able importance. 

By the deed T. 386 (C. MXV.) William the chap- 
lain, son of Ketherek, grants to John Peruat and Alice 
his wife a messuage and land in the town of Kenefeg 
near Monk's-street, between the Abbey grange and 
Thomas Gramus's land. Rent 2d. to the lord of the 
fee, one man's work for one day in autumn and 20s. 
beforehand. It was customary for tenants to pay rent 
and also to find labour at certain seasons. As, for 
example, at Ibstone, Oxon (thirteenth century), Henry 
Perys held half a virgate in fee by deed ; he paid 
a rent of 5s. 6d. per annum and three capons at the 
Feast of St. Thomas Apostle, and had to find a man 
to reap for three days in autumn at his own costs, 
with other services.' Witnesses: Wm. Terry, Henry 
^ "The Manor," by N. J. Hone. 


Willoc, Adam Harding, W. Magor, Nicholas Rotarius, 
or wheelwright, and others. 

Alice Peruath, relict of John Peruath, by a deed, 
T. 199 (C. MCVL), quit-claimed to the Abbey and 
Convent of Margam a messuage and curtilage in 
the town of Kenefeg, next Monk's-street, between the 
grange of the Abbot and Convent of Margam and the 
land of William Ketherek ; and another messuage in 
the same street, between the grange and Thomas 
Gramus's land, which Alice and John had of William 
the chaplain, son of Ketherek. The Abbot and 
Convent, in return, grant "by a letter" to the said 
Alice, for life, one conventual loaf and a gallon of beer 

Seal of the burgesses of Kenefeg and Alice's. 

Witnesses : John Luvel, W. de Cornely, and others. 
Margam, 15 February, a.d. 1320 for 132 1. 

(Seal, a star of >5< s'. a l i c i e . p' v a (t). 

eight points.) 

In Mr. Clark's ** Cartae " I find a Kenfiof 
document of about a.d. 1325. This document 
(C. MCXXVI.) gives us the name of another 
street, Esstreet. 

It is a grant by Nicholas, son of John Nichol, 
to William and Johanna Terri of one messuage 
in the vill of Kenefeg and four virgates (120 acres) 
of land, of which one end of the said messuage 
extends to the messuajje which Adam Herdig" 
formerly held on the west, and the other end 
reaches in length to the road which leads outside 
the town on the east, and stretches in width to 


the road called Esstreet on the north and the 
well which Helena Meleward formerly held on the 
south. Paying to the said Nicholas his heirs and 
assigns 4d. at the four terms of the year — that is to 
say, at the feast of St. Michael a penny, at the feast 
of St. i\ndrew a penny, at Palm Sunday a penny, 
likewise at the Feast of St. John Baptist a penny 
for every service and secular exaction and demand. 

" And I the said Nicholas and my heirs and assigns 
will find to the aforesaid William and his heirs and 
assigns a road to the aforesaid Well and to the aforesaid 
four Virgates of land at whichever time they shall 

" And I the said Nicholas and my heirs or assigns 
shall warrant acquit and defend the said messuage 
and four Virgates of land to the said William and his 
heirs and assigns against all men and women for ever ; 
moreover for this my gift grant and confirmation of 
my present charter the said William Terri has given 
to me beforehand ten shillings sterlino-. And that this 
my gift grant and confirmation of my present charter 
may remain for ever sure and stable I have confirmed 
this present charter with the impression of my seal. 
These being witnesses : Wm. Ailleward, John [son ?] of 
Alexander, Henry Willoc, Thomas Gramus (this name 
is sometimes spelled Grammus, but I shall adhere to 
Gramus), John Cohz (Coch probably), and many 

One of the Margam MS. gives us yet another street. 
Robert de Magour grants by T. 201 1 to William, 
son of Master Nicholas, of the place of a house with a 
curtilage in the town of Kenefec, between the land of 


Nicholas Le Welar on the south, and that lately held 
by Adam Herding' on the north, and extending from 
Monekin-street to the land of John Hugelot. Also of 
two and a half acres of arable land ; one between the 
land of Thomas Gramus on the east and land lately 
held by John Peruat on the west ; land lately held by 
Helena Jordan and Kenefec water, i.e., river; the other 
between John Herberd's land on the south, that of 
John Ruthin's on the north ; the high-road to Cornell ; 
and the meadow of John Faber ; the half acre between 
Philip Gramus' land on the south ; that of John 
Hugelot on the north ; the meadows of John Faber, 
and that of Henry Vot. Rent to the Abbey 2s. yearly, 
a suit of court, half a mark consideration money 

(Seal, a quatrefoil.) >5< s' roberti:magor. 

In the ordinance of Kenfig is mentioned the usual 
High-street. I say usual, for almost every town has 
its High-street. High-street must have been the fine 
street of Kenefig, for great care seems to have been 
exercised with its keeping. The ordinance states : 
" Item it is ordained that no butchers shall cast noe 
heads, feet, nor none other grarbao^e in the Hioj'h street 
nor in other place," &c. ; and there was to be no tennis- 
playing within the High street." 

The town boasted, of course, of its Guildhall, and so 
proud of it were the townspeople that the ordinance 
ordains that " noe stranger shall have free prison in the 
Guildhall above but in the lower prison, unless he be 
a burgess giving, yielding, and paying within the said 
^ Probably the Adam Herdig of the previous deed. 


town according to charter." The burgesses only were 
to enjoy free prison in the upper storey of the Guild- 
hall, strangers were probably placed in a cell under the 

It is interesting to learn that the town had its 
hospital. It is mentioned in a deed of the late twelfth 
or early thirteenth century. Richard de Dunster 
grants, T. 79, 289, 21 (C. DCCCII), with counsel and 
consent of his wife (prudent man !) and heirs, to Margam 
Abbey his burgage with land adjacent to the castle and 
one acre outside the town near the Maladeria, or 

As I have said, the town lay on the seaward side 
of the castle. On the south of the castle moat, close 
to it, was the cemetery of St. James's Church. This 
we find from the deed, already mentioned in the 
reference to the castle-bailey, granting a messuage 
within the bailey on the east, near the wall of the 

The town continued alonor the moat on the seaward 
side and along the cemetery wall towards the south, 
and then followed along the south wall of the 
cemetery to the east; thus T. 153 (C. Mill) is a 
grant by Philip, son of Robert Palmer, or le Palmer, 
to Margam Abbey, with consent of Amabilia his wife, of 
a messuage in the town of Kenefeg which appertains to 
his burgage, on the south of the cemetery, having on 
the east the messuage of Hugh, son of John the priest, 
and on the west that of Osbern le Hopar. Among 
the witnesses is Walter Luvel, who occurs as a witness 
to a large number of deeds. Walter Luvel was 
constable of Llangewydd. 


No part of the town existed on the eastern side of 
the castle moat and cemetery ; it was confined to the 
seaward side and south of the cemetery. This we find 
from a deed T. 105 (C. MCCCCIX). This is a grant 
by Gillebert Gramus to God, Blessed Mary of Margam, 
and to the monks, with consent of his wife Aliz, of ten 
acres of his land, beginning at the Kenfig river, then 
along the old cemetery to the south. This land 
apparently lay along the castle moat and continued 
along the east side of the cemetery southward. 

The following is an interesting deed, as showing the 
methods adopted by the monks to obtain houses and 
lands in the town and without, by giving certain 
benefits to the owners in return. 

T. 200 (C. MCXXIV.) is a quit claim by John, son 
of John Nichol of Kenefig, to Margam Abbey, of the 
right in all his lands, burgages, messuages, and other 
liberties in the town of Kenefeg and without, on 
condition of receiving daily one conventual loaf, two 
loaves called " Liuersouns," ^ and a gallon of beer, half 
a mark silver for wages, four pairs of shoes, price 
1 2d., a quarter of oats, and pasture for two beasts, and 
he is to perform the service of a free sergeant. ^ 
Under seal of the borough of Kenfeg. Attested by 

^ Liuersouns. Dr. Birch says the word is from the French 
livraison^ a book ; the bread being made in thin leaves and 
resembled our " parliament cakes." Probably they resembled 
our oatmeal cakes called " blawd ceirch." 

= Free Serjeant. Probably his duties were serving the abbot's 
writs, or holding his courts. There was a grand serjeantry, a little 
serjeantry, and a free serjeantry : grand sergeantry implied 
military service ; Httle serjeantry, feeding the lord's dogs, 
mewing his hawks, and furnishing him with bows and arrows. 


John Luvel, or Lovel; Philip Stiward, David Marescal, 
W. Terry, Henry Colyn. Margam, Day of St. 
Donat, Bishop and Martyr. 7 Aug., a.d. 1325. 

I give here the Kenfeg Ordinances, fourth year of 
Edward III., 1330. 

Kenffeg Villa. 

A good set of ordinances for the government of the 
town considering the remote period in which they 
were drawn up. 

Copy Kenffeg Ordinances, fourth year of Edward III. 

or 1330. 

Kenffeg Villa. 

" The ancient, true and laudable Ordinances of the 
said town newly drawn by the consent of the portreeve 
and aldermen thereof whose names are hereunder 
written, word by word and agreeable to the old 
decayed roule, with other more ordinances added 
thereunto, for the good government of the said town 
and libertys. Dated the twentyeth day of May and 
the fourth year of Edward the Third after the 

I. "First it is ordained by the portreeve and his 
brethren the aldermen of the said town that every 
baker licensed by the said portreeve, from time to 
time shall bake good and sufficient bread to be sold 
as well to all burgesses, chencers, inhabitants and 
strangers, keeping such true size as shall be limitted 
unto them by the portreeve, weighing according to the 


rate of the corn sold In the markett, on pain of a 
grievious amerciament at the portreeve's pleasure, and 
further punishments and penalties provided [by] his 
Majesty's laws and statutes for such heinous and 
intollerable offences. 

2. "Also it is ordained by the said portreeve and 
aldermen that every oven-keeper within the said town 
shall keep true and lawfuU weights, and the same 
deliver to him or them bakeing bread to be sold, 
whether they be burgesses, chencers, inhabitants or 
strangers, upon pain of a grievious amerciament. 

3. " Item it is ordained by the said portreeve that 
noe manner of person shall buy wheat nor noe other 
corn in the markett for to make their mault upon pain 
of amerciament. 

4. " Item it is ordained by the said portreeve that 
noe baker nor brewer shall buy noe manner of corn in 
the markett before xii of the clock in the summer and 
xi of the clock in the winter, upon pain of a grievous 

5. " Item it is ordained by the said portreeve that 
all brewers shall brew good and wholesome ale, third 
drink and small drink, as well to strangers as burgesses, 
chencers and inhabitants of the town upon pain of 

6. " Item it is ordained that no tapster shall wern 
her ale to selling to burgesses, chencers and inhabi- 
tants of the said town by gallon, pottle or quart, if she 
hath above three pottles in her house, upon pain of a 
grievious amerciament. 

7. " Item it is ordained that all brawlers and fighters 
that draweth blood the one upon the other, shall pay 


\\]s. and iiijV. for the bloodshed, and for the fray such 
amerciament as shall please the portreeve. 

8. " It is ordained that noe butcher shall not hold noe 
open shop on a Sunday, nor on that day sell noe flesh 
openly, upon pain of amerciament. 

9. "It is ordained that noe butcher shall not slay any 
manner of victuall neither make any scalding in the 
high street, upon pain of amerciament. Also that noe 
butcher beingr buroress shall sell flesh but under the 
shambles, upon pain of amerciament. And also that all 
butchers, strangers, shall sell noe flesh within the said 
town but upon Frydays and Saturdays, upon pain of 

10. " Item it is ordained that noe manner of burgess 
shall buy noe manner of merchandizes that shall 
happen to come to the said town, but such men as 
shall be appointed by the said portreeve and alder- 
men, upon pain of xU, ; and all such merchandizes to 
be divided amongst all the' burgesses, every man 
according to his ability. 

11. " Item it is ordained that noe butchers shall cast 
noe heads, feet, nor none other garbage in the High 
Street, nor in noe other place, to the annoyance of his 
neighbour, upon pain of amerciament of yXyd. at every 1 
time he is so found or taken. jH 

12. "Item it is ordained that if anv buroress have 
any wrong, and may be (by the portreeve thereof) 
remedied, and will make any other suit against the 
portreeve or Councell, unto the Lord or his deputy, 
that burgess soe doing to be discommoned by the 
portreeve and Councell for evermore without any 
gainsaying, and a grievious amerciament at the 



pleasure of the portreeve, if he be found guilty, by 
III of the Councell and iii of the com'ons. 

13. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess, chencer 
nor inhabitant, nor their servants, shall buy within the 
gates nor without the gates noe manner of thing 
coming into the markett, untill the time it be brought 
unto the place accustomed ; and all those that be taken 
up or put up for that forestalling or regrateing to be 
amerced in X5. at every time that any of them be 
found faulty, unless it be the portreeve or any of his 
brethren for their own house ; and all chencers or 
strangers that selleth any fish until the time it be 
brought unto the place accustomed, shall pay amercia- 
ment at the portreeve his pleasure. 

14. " Item it is ordained that noe chencer nor 
inhabitant or resciant shall say noe unfitting words 
w^hich should be rebukefull or spitefull to the portreeve 
or to any of the Councell, or will gainsay the good 
rule and ordinances of the said town which is made 
and ordained by the said portreeve and aldermen, 
upon pain of imprisonment and amerciament of xj"., 
the one half thereof to the lord, and the other half to 
him that the rebuke is given ; and the third fault to 
be discommoned, if he be found guilty by three of the 
aldermen and three of the burgesses. 

15. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess, chencer, 
nor inhabitant of the said town shall take noe part 
against the portreeve and aldermen with noe burgess, 
chencer, nor noe other person, upon pain of yis. ; and 
if he be a burgess, to pay the penalty forthwith, and 
to be discom'oned, and his body to prison ; and if he 
be a chencer, to pay the said penalty, and his body to 



prison, there to remain untill the portreeve and the 
Councell doe commune together. 

1 6. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess be made 
or received into the Guildhall except he be admitted 
by the portreeve, aldermen and burgesses, soe that he 
may be ruled by the portreeve of the said town ; and 
he or they soe admitted and received, shall take noe 
maintenance, upon pain of discomyneing, if he be 
found guilty by three of the aldermen and three of 
the burgesses, and amerced at the portreeve's 

17. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess, chencer 
nor inhabitant of the said town shall buy neither 
cheese, butter, eggs, capons, henns, chickens, nor noe 
other manner of victualls coming to the said town to 
be sold, untill it come to the common markett of old 
time used, upon pain of amerciament of v]d. at every 
time that any of them be found guilty or faulty. 

18. "It is ordained that noe taverner keep noe 
open tavern in the annoyance after x of the clock 
at night, noe tapster after ix, upon pain of amercia- 

19. " Item it is ordained that noe manner of person 
shall play at dice, cards, bowles, nor no other unlaw- 
ful! games within the said town nor the franchise of 
the same, upon pain of amerciament of xij^. upon him 
that owneth the house that such play is kept in, and 
the players to be brought to prison, and an amercia- 
ment at the portreeve's pleasure ; and also there be 
noe tennis playing within the High Street, upon 
pain of \s. to be levied upon every of them that 


20. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess, chencer, 
nor inhabitant of the said town shall not suffer any- 
stranger within his house privily nor openly to buy 
nor to sell any manner of merchandizes against the 
royaltys of the said town and the freedom thereof, 
upon pain of xx5. 

21. " Item it is ordained that noe ostler shall hold 
noe ostrey without a sign at his door, upon pain of 
amerciament of xx^., and that noe ostler shall werne 
noe lodging nor harbour noe strangers comeing to the 
said town on horseback or on foot upon pain of 
amerciament of xijV, at every default. 

22. " Item it is ordained that noe stranger shall 
have free prison in the Guildhall above, but in the 
lower prison, unless he be a burgess giveing, yielding 
and paying within the said town according to the 
charter ; and he to find suretys to save the serjeant 

23. " Item it is ordained that noe manner of person 
shall make noe foraigne nor piggestye to the annoy- 
ance of his neighbour upon pain of five shillings, 
unless and except it be in his garden within the 
walls of the said town. 

24. " Item it is ordained that noe manner of person 
or persons shall cast noe dust, dung nor other filth 
in the streets nor in the town ditches, nor within fifty 
foot of any of the gates of the said town or any part 
of the walls thereof, upon pain of amerciament at the 
pleasure of the portreeve. 

25. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess nor 
chencer shall goe out of the franchise and libertys 
of the said town to the wedding ale of any person 



or persons whatsoever, upon pain of five shillings at 
every default. 

26. " Item it is ordained that if any woman be 
found guilty [by six men] of scolding or railing any 
burgess or their wives or any other of their neigh- 
bours, then she to be brought at the first fault to 
the cucking-stool there to sit one hour, and the second 
fault two hours, and third fault to lett slippe, or else 
a high fyne at the portreeve his pleasure. 

27. " Item it is ordained that noe manner of person 
shall hold nor open shop to cutt carne or trawntrey 
or ostrey hold, unless he be a burgess yielding and 
paying by the appointment of the portreeve, upon 
pain of a grievous amerciament. 

28. " Item it is ordained that noe manner of person 
shall have any swine goeing within the town walls 
upon pain (if a complaint be made) of twelve pence 
amerciament at every time that they be found faulty ; 
and if any swine be found about the Cross, the Cross 
keeper is to have for every swine so found four pence ; 
and further, if any complaint be made by the hay- 
warden or by any other person of any swine going 
upon the common unringed, the owners of the said 
swine to pay and forfeit for every such default two 
shillings and six pence. 

29. " Item it is ordained that all such persons as 
have burgages or any houses within the town or 
franchise of the same shall take no tenants into their 
houses but such as will and may be allowed and 
admitted by the portreeve and aldermen and other 
officers of the said town, and not to hurt the libertys 
and franchises of the same, upon pain of discomyneing 


(If he be a freeman) and ten shillings amerciament ; 
and if he be not a burgess, ten shillings amerciament 
and his body to prison. 

30. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess shall 
not merchandize with noe strangers goods to their 
sinofular advantasre and for to inhance merchandizes 
and for to imbeazle the lords royaltys, dutys and 
customs, upon pain of high amerciament at the 
portreeve's pleasure. 

31. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess, chencer 
nor inhabitant of the said town doe not say against the 
royalties and libertys of the same, nor of the charter, 
upon pain of amerciament. 

32. " Item it is ordained that noe chencer nor 
stranger shall buy any corn within the markett nor 
within the franchise of the said town, to be sold 
again, upon pain of amerciament. 

2^1. " Item it is ordained that noe chencer shall sell 
bread, ale, nor noe other victualls, nor hold noe open 
ostrey by night nor by day within the said franchise of 
the said town, but through license from the portreeve 
for the time being, upon pain of amerciament. 

34. " Item it is ordained that noe stranger shall buy 
any corn in the markett untill the portreeve, aldermen 
and burgesses be served, except gentlemen for their 
own household, upon pain of amerciament. 

35. " Item it is ordained that noe stranger shall 
walke by night after nine of the clock, without 
a reasonable cause, or fire in his hand, upon pain 
of amerciament of twelve pence, and his body to 
prison, at the portreeve's pleasure there to remain. 

36. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess shall 


discover the Councell of his brethren burgesses of 
the said town, upon pain of discom'oning without 
gainsaying, and a grievous amerciament at the 
pleasure of the portreeve. 

Ty']. " Item it is ordained that every burgess, tenant 
and resciant dwellino- within the town walls where the 
pavements or causeways hath been, shall and doe 
keep them clean from dung and other filth, upon 
pain of twelve pence at every fault ; and where the 
streets be unpav'd, every man to pave the same, 
upon pain of amerciament, before his door. 

38. " Item it is ordained that no man nor woman 
shall milke any kine within the High Street, within 
the town walls, nor none shall suffer their beasts to 
abide in the High Street nor in noe other street 
by night nor by day, but only going and comeing 
to and from their pastures, upon pain of amercia- 
ment of twelve pence at every such fault. 

39. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess shall buy 
noe manner of wares as boards, lathes, tyles, nor noe 
other chaffre for any strangers, whereby the libertys 
and freedom of the said town may be hurt and 
hindered to the annoyance of any other burgess, 
upon pain of three shillings and four pence at every 
fault and offence comitted therein. 

40. " Item it is ordained that every tanner using the 
mystery of tanning shall sell their leather well and 
sufficiently tanned accordingly, upon pain of forfeiture 
of his said leather or a fyne. 

41. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess nor 
chencer shall buy noe manner of hides or skinns 
(comeing to the markett) of any beasts or cattle what- 


soever or wool but only in the com'on markett place 
of old accustomed, upon pain of amerciament. 

42. " Item it is ordained that all butchers, as well 
strangers as burgesses and chencers, shall bring unto 
the markett good and wholesome and sufficient 
victuals unblown not raised upon the kidney or 
otherwise abused contrary to his highnesses laws, 
upon pain of a greivious amerciament. And all 
strange butchers that bringeth beef, mutton, or other 
victual to be sold shall bring with them the hides 
and skinns thereof, upon pain of forfeiture of their 

43. " Item it is ordained that no burgess of the said 
town shall sue, arrest, trouble, or vex any other 
burgess at any court, shire, or franchise, or any other 
court if out of the said town, upon pain of discomyne- 
ing and amerciament if such his plaint and action be 
and may be determinable within the court of the said 

44. " Item it is ordained that noe manner of 
burgess, chencer, nor inhabitant of the said town 
shall keep noe licentious naughtipacks, bawdrey, or 
suspected harlotts, vagabonds, nor loyterers in their 
houses, upon pain of ten shillings amerciament. 

45. " Item it is ordained that noe manner of person 
or persons whatsoever, burgess, chencer, nor inhabi- 
tant of the said town, shall make noe mixions in any 
place within the franchise and libertys of the said 
town to the annoyance of any man nor to the 
inconvenience of any of the streets of the said town, 
upon pain of ten shillings on every of them so doeing. 

46. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess nor 


burgesses be admitted to be putt in election for 
portreeve, nor in the councell of the said town, nor 
in any other office with the said burrough except he or 
they be dwellers therein. 

47. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess or 
burgesses shall have liberty for his or their cattle or 
catties to pasture (in any place) upon our common 
and freedom except he be a dweller within the said 

48. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess or 
burgesses shall take upon any condition noe manner 
of cattle or catties of any person or persons what- 
soever thereby to overpasture our com'on and freedom 
but such number as is reasonable and fitt, and that 
noe buroresses shall take noe manner of cattle or 
catties under three years, upon pain of amerciament 
at the pleasure of the portreeve. 

49. " Item it is ordained that noe aldermen 
burgesses that have been portreeves shall appear 
in a jury between party and party. And those who 
are elected and chosen for election portreeves are also 
to be free from being in the said jury for the present 
year in which they are elected. 

50. " Item it is ordained that the hayward shall 
dayly make a diligent view and survey over our 
com'on and freedom, and thereby to see that no 
strangers cattle nor catties doe pasture upon our 
freedom. And also to see that noe manner of person 
or persons whatsoever doe reap any sedges, neither 
draw nor pull any rootes, nor cutt any furzes in any 
place whatsoever, nor do any other thing that may be 
to the ruin, destruction, and overthrow of the said 


burrough nor the inhabitants thereof, upon pain of 
five shillings for every default. 

51. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess nor 
burgesses stranger nor inhabitant shall reap or pluck 
any sedges nor any other rootes (in any place upon) 
the said burrough to the annoyance ruin and overthrow 
of the same. But only such person or persons as the 
portreeve and councell shall admitt, and in such 
place upon the said burrough as the said portreeve 
and councell shall appoint, upon pain of two shillings 
and six pence for the first fault, for the second fault 
five shillings, and for the third fault to be discomyned 
and disfranchised. 

52. "To all to whom these presents shall come to be 
seen read heard or understood that where as the Lords 
of Glamorgan and Morgannog of old antiquity of 
their meer clemency and mercy and by their goodness 
and freewill and by their several charters have given 
and granted to the burrough and town of Kenfegg 
their libertys and franchises with the freedom apper- 
taining to the same with many goodly and Godly 
comoditys for the preserving of the government and 
profitts of the com'onwealth of the burrough and town 
corporate of Kenfegg and to the burgesses of the 
same as in the said severall charters under their hands 
and seales more att large may and doth appear. And 
amongst divers other gifts and grants the said Lords 
of Glamorgan and Morgannog in their several 
charters and letters patents have given granted and 
fully confirmed to the burrough and town corporate of 
Kenfegg and burgesses of the same and to their 


successors for ever as well certain parcells of free 
com'ons sett lyeing and being at Kevencribor between 
the lands of the Lord of Newcastle on the east part 
and the lands of the late dissolved monastery of 
Margam on the north-west and south as alsoe many 
other parcells and quilletts of lands with free libertys 
and freedoms within the franchises aforesaid as in 
their severall charters is mentioned Know ye 
further for good and reasonable considerations us 
moveing and alsoe for a com'onwealth and comodity 
of our burgesses and successors for ever and accord- 
ing to the tenor and purport of the said severall 
charters to us severally granted by the said Lords 
of Glamorgan and Morgannog wee the burgesses 
aforesaid have consulted ourselves together and to 
and thereupon concluded and agreed within our- 
selves for because wee have and yett doe yearly 
fall in arrearages and losses the which is to the 
portreeve's great charges by reason of the overthrow 
blowing and choaking up of sand in drowning of our 
town and church with a number of acres of free lands 
besides all the burgages of ground within the said 
libertys except three for the which burgages so lost 
by the said overthrow yett nevertheless the rent 
thereof is and hath allways been paid to the lords 
receivers to the portreeve's great losse and hinderance 
yearly in making of auditt Therefore it is con- 
discended concluded assented and fully agreed be- 
tween all the burgesses of the said town that the said 
portreeve shall call twelve before him and of them to 
name of the most substantial honest and the best 
freeholders of the said town eight and they shall 


yearly make their ordinances for any com'onweale to 
stand and remain for their comodities amongst them 
their heirs successors and assignes and soe being once 
substantially made to continue for ever And there- 
upon Evan Griffith portreeve of the same called these 
eight burgesses to him to make this present order or 
composition videlicet William Thomas Aylward Gent., 
John Morgan Gent., Rees Thomas Melen, William 
ap William, Rees Thomas levan, Thomas Jenkin, 
Llewellyn Pritchard, and Robert John. The said 
portreeve and the eight beforesaid have stablished 
this for com'onweale profitts and comodity of our said 
burgesses and to their heirs successors and assigns and 
to every of them for ever for the inclosing parking 
and ditching in part of the aforesaid free comon at 
Kevencribor for and towards some help of the loss 
of their burgages of lands by the overthrow aforesaid 

: and that the same be and shall bee inclosed parked 
and ditched in by the burgesses on this side and 
before the twenty fourth day of Aprill next comeing 
after the date hereof and soe from thenceforth shall 

' stand and remain to every of the said twenty-nine 
burgesses and to their heirs successors and assignes 
and to every of them for ever every one his part 
as to the chances by lotts none shall challenge other- 
wise and they shall begin on the eastern part to ditch 
at Clawdd-y-ffin -^ and soe westward under the hill to 
Trod Rhyw Yr Glo' and from thence downwards 
to Rhyd Yorath Goch To have and to hold the 

I aforesaid parcells of free com'on to every one of 
the twenty-nine burgesses hereon indorsed and to 
^ Clawdd-y-ffin, the boundary hedge. 


their heirs and assigns for ever without any lett 
interruption molestation or vexation of the burgesses 
inhabiting or dwelHng within the said Hbertys or of 
any person or persons in their behalfs or steads 
Item wee order that the same parcell of free comon 
shall be fenced and put into hayne on the twenty ■] 
fourth of March and shall not be depastured untill the 
feast of Saint Matthew before Michaelmas And alsoe 
then there shall none of the said twenty-nine burgesses 
pasture or grass the same but by the Oyfri/ Item wee 
doe order that none shall rent his or their part nor sell 
the same to any stranger if there will be any of the 
burgesses that will buy or rent the same upon pain 
of forfeiture of his or their Hbertys within the same 
parcell of meadow Also if any burgess doe rent his 
or their part to any other burgess he shall have it 
for three shillings and fourpence the acre and not 
above Item wee doe order that noe one burgess 
of one part or parcell in the said free comon meadow 
shall not by inheritance challenge two parts or more 
so that allways the portreeve and other eight burgesses 
shall by their discretion devide the same as they shall 
seeme good and convenient to maintain allways the 
twenty-nine within the same Item wee doe order 
for the better establishinge of these our ordinances 
by us the portreeve and the other eight of the twelve 
for the performance of every point and article that 
shall bee broken or discontinued wee do bind us and 
every of us each to the other in the sum of five 
pounds of good and lawful money of England apiece 

' Oyfri ; this is probably a mistake for Cyfrif, an account or 
reckoning — a register. 


and that it shall be levied upon our goods and lands 
without any delay or wager of law. In witneese 
whereof we the portreeve and the other eight have 
thereunto put our seales and signes the twentyth 
day of January in the thirteenth year of the reign of 
our sovereign lady Elizabeth by the grace of God 
of England France and Ireland Queen Defender of 
the Faith etc. Annoque Domini 1572 [1571]. 

53. " Item it is ordained that every widow shall 
enjoy the priviledge of her husband dureing her 
widowhood except the heir apparent bee sworne 
burgess to doe service within the said town thereby 
to have the peice of hay within the aforesaid meadow 
if soe it bee that the said heir apparent doth challenge 
and claim his right to it the said peice of hay and 
provided that noe manner of person nor persons 
whatsoever doe interrupt the said widow of her 
priviledge as long as she liveth and dwelleth within 
the said burrough and town. 

54. " Item it is ordained that noe burgesses nor 
burgess shall sell any peice nor parcell of hay at 
Kimley Meade or Kevencribor to any burgess being 
an outdweller from the said burrough nor to any 
stranger nor foreigner upon pain of discomyneing. 

55. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess nor 
burgesses shall rent any peice nor parcell of hay at 
the foresaid meadow to any burgess nor burgesses 
being outdwellers from the said town and burrough 
nor to any other person or persons whatsoever if it 
be necessary to any burgess or burgesses dwelling in 
the said burrough to have the said parcel of hay for 
and that noe burgess nor burgesses shall rent any 


parcell of the said hay before he or they do pub- 
lickly on a court day offer the same parcel of hay 
to a bureess and burgesses dwelUn^ in the said 

C> o o 

burrough And alsoe that noe burgess nor burgesses 
shall henceforth rent any peice or parcell of the said 
hay above three shillings and four pence per acre 
upon pain of forfeiture of his or their libertys in the 
said parcells of hay as aforesaid. 

56. " Item it is ordained that if any burgess happen 
to dye without any lawfull heir within the said town 
and burrough to enjoy the said dece'dent burgess his 
parcell of hay within the said free com'on meadow the 
portreeve for the said year in which he happeneth to 
dye shall have and enjoy the benefitt and profitt 
of the said parcell of hay for one whole year after 
his decease and after one year the said parcell of 
hay to be by the portreeve and the eight burgesses 
settled to a burgess that hath not a parcell of 
hay paying therefore twenty shillings per acre to 
the treasury of the said town for the maintenance 
allways of the comonweale of the said town and 

57. " Item it is ordained if any difference shall 
happen to arise between any of the said burgesses in 
claiming any right or title in any of the said parcells 
of hay within the said free comon meadow the 
portreeve and the eight elected burgesses shall try 
and decide the same debate and difference without 
any delay or wager of law. 

58. " Item it is ordained that noe burgess nor 
burgesses shall rent any parcell of femes att Kenfeg 
Down to any burgess nor burgesses dwelling out of 


the said burrough nor to any stranger nor foreigner 
before he publickly on a court-day held for the said 
town offer the same parcell of ferns to a burgess or 
burgesses dwelling within the said town and burrough 
And also that noe burgess nor burgesses shall rent out 
any of the said parcells of ferns above eight pence per 
parcell yearly upon forfeiture of his or their libertys 
within the said parcell of ferns at the said down. 

59. " Item it is ordained that no manner of person 
or persons whosoever dwelling within the said 
borough town or their franchise thereof shall be 
admitted and sworn burgess or burgesses except 
such as gain legall settlement in the same wherein 
he or they then resides. 

"'\Endorsement.'\ — These blotts or lotts shall begin 
on the east part next to Clawdd y ffin. Every man's 
hit shall chance by the said lotts. 

"Imprimis. — i, Llewelyn ap Richard; 2, Robert 
John Richard ; 3, Rees Thomas Melen ; 4, William 
ap William ; 5, John Morgan ; 6, Thomas Jenkin ; 
7, William Thomas Ayleward ; 8, Rees Thomas 
Bevan ; 9, Evan Griffith ; 10, Thomas ap Thomas ; 
II, Rees ap levan John; 12, Llewelyn Griffith; 
13, Watkin Thomas ; 14, David John Ayleward ; 15, 
David John Goch ; 16, Howell ap Howell; 17, 
Evan ap Morgan; 18, Jenkin ap levan; 19, Jonnett 
Verch Evan; 20, John Jenkin; 21, Dennis Verch 
John; 22, Catherine Verch Fforath ; 23, Thomas 
Griffith ; 24, Amy Verch John ; 25, John Thomas 


Llewellyn ; 26, Howell Thomas ; 27, Johan Verch 
levan ; 28, John Hortton ; 29, Morgan Evan. 

" Copia vera nominorum." 

Some of the ordinances are curious ; for instance, 
"all butchers, strangers, shall sell noe flesh within the 
said town but upon Frydays and Saturdays upon pain 
of amerciament." ' 

Pigstyes were not to be made to the annoyance of a 
neighbour, unless and except it be in his own garden 
within the walls of the town. 

Item 6 refers to tapster as being a woman. 
Tapster means a hdiV-maid, here it means a woman 
holding a small ale-house. The tapster was not to 
wern her ale to selling to burgesses, etc., that is, she 
was not to refuse to sell. Wern to refuse, to forbid 
(" Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial 
Words "). 

No. 13 provides that nothing was to be bought 
except in the market, and 17 is to the same effect as 
regards cheese, butter, eggs, capons, hens, chickens, 
or other victuals. 

Resciant, in No. 14, means a resident. 

No. 18 the taverner, or public-house keeper, was 
to close at 10 p.m., the tapster at 9 p.m. 

No. 21. Ostler, from the old French hosteller, an 
inn-keeper ; Ostrey, from old French hostellerie (in 
this case clearly different from the tavern), a place 
where persons could stay at, a small hotel. The 
ostler was not to werne lodging or harbour to 
strangers ; he was not to refuse them lodging. 
" Withey's Dictionary" mentions that taverns which 
■ Amerciament = punishment. 


existed in England as early as the thirteenth century 
at first sold only wines and liquors. 

Item 24 shows that the town was walled and pro- 
vided with entrance gates. 

Item 25 is very severe : it allows no burgess or 
chencer to go to the wedding ale of any person or 
persons outside the franchise and liberties of the town, 
upon pain of 5s. at every default. 

A chencer is, I believe, a dweller in the town 
having no burgage rights, a simple householder 
(Chencer, 1535, Act 27, Henry VIII., " Yerely 
tributours or chensers "). 

No. 26 shows us how women with wilful tongues 
were to be dealt with. If six men find any woman 
guilty of scolding or railing at any burgess or his wife 
or neighbours, she is to sit in the cucking-stool ^ one 
hour, and for the second fault two hours, and for the 
third fault to let slippe, or else a high fyne at the 
portreeve's pleasure. 

No. 27. To cut carne : This means probably to cut 
meat up and display for sale. Trawntrey : This 
word may be from Traunter, a pedlar, or it may 
mean Taverntry. 

No. 28 deals with pigs wandering within the town 

' Cucking-stool, for ducking scolds. The stool which is 
chucked or let down into the water; to " let slippe " meant 
that the woman was let down into the water. From the 
archaic word cuck — to chuck or throw. 

" Now if our cucking-stool was for each scold, 
Some town, I fear, would not their numbers hold." 

(" Poor Robin," 1746).— Dr. E. C. Brewer, " Diet, of Phrase and 


walls and also with pigs found about the Cross, the 
Cross-keeper to have the fine for every swine so 
found. I am not sure if this Cross is what is found in 
almost all mediaeval towns and known as the Market 
Cross, or if it is the cross known as the Groes-y-dadl, 
to which I shall refer hereafter. Whichever cross 
is referred to, it was carefully guarded by an officer 
specially detailed for the purpose. 

No tenants to be taken into the houses except by 
permission of the town officials. 

They were early bedgoers in those days, for " noe 
stranger shall walke by night after nine of the 
clock, without a reasonable cause, or fire [a lantern] 
in his hand," upon payment of a fine or imprison- 

The streets must have had a curious chess-board- 
like appearance, for " where the streets be unpav'd, 
every man to pave the same, upon pain of amercia- 
ment, before his door." Mixion mentioned in No. 45 
probably means mixon, or midden, an ash-pit, a 

Tanning was regarded as a handicraft. Mystery 
is derived from the old French rnestier, a trade or 

Naughtipack, a woman of bad character, or a 
wicked or dissolute man ("Murray's Dictionary"). 

No. 50 mentions an official called the Hayward, 
who is to see to the common land of the borough, to 
distrain cattle trespassing, and to see that the sedges 
binding the sand together were not to be reaped nor 
plucked up by the roots, neither were furzes to be cut 
" that may be to the ruin, destruction and overthrow 


of the said burrough nor the inhabitants thereof." 
This indicates that trouble was threatening the 
town in the shape of drifting sand. At Aberavon 
there were formerly four haywards. 

No. 51 modifies the above, and the portreeve and 
council may allow persons to pluck sedges and other 
" rootes." 

No. 52 was added in a.d. 1572, and, as I have 
already mentioned, it discloses a sad condition of 
things. It mentions the late dissolved monastery of 
Margam, the dissolution having taken place thirty- 
five years before ; many of the burgesses whose 
names are appended doubtless remembered the 
Abbey before the end came. 

It goes on to relate that, whereas the Lords of 
Glamorgan and Morgannog of old antiquity of their 
meer clemency and mercy and by their goodness and 
free will have given and granted to the burrough 
and town of Kenffeg for ever certain parcells of 
free com'ons at Kevencriber between the lands of 
the Lord of Newcastle on the east and the lands 
of the late dissolved monastery at Margam on the 
north-west and south : Know ye further for good and 
reasonable considerations according to the tenor and 
purport of the severall charters granted by the said 
Lords of Glamorgan and Morgannog wee the bur- 
gesses have consulted ourselves together and agreed 
within ourselves for because wee have and do yet 
yearly fall in arrearages and losses by reason of the 
overthrow blowing and choaking up of sand in 
drowning of our town and church with a number 
of acres of free lands besides all the burgages of 




ground except three ; it was agreed to call twelve 
of the most substantial honest and best freeholders of 
the said town and of them to name eight who shall 
arrange for the inclosing and ditching of part of the 
aforesaid free comon at Kefncribor as some help for 
the loss of the overflow aforesaid : the lands so 
inclosed to be allotted among twenty-nine burgesses. 
None of the new allotments are to be sold save at 
a fixed price and none to a stranger to the exclusion 
of a burgess. Other regulations with regard to the 
allotments are numerous. Dated 20 Jan., 13 Elizabeth, 

A.D. 1572 [1571]- 



AFTER puzzling over the strange words in the 
ordinances of Kenfig it is refreshing to stand 
on the shore of Kenfig Pool. 

Restful is the great pool to-day, and you are 
impressed with the peaceful aspect ; " smooth-faced 
peace " is surely here. No sound breaks the still- 
ness save the lowing of cattle in the adjacent fields 
which rise in gentle slope from the water on the 
landward side. On the other, the seaward side, the 
great waste of sand, having won its way right up to 
the pool, seems now at rest. The string of cattle, 
wending its way to refreshing coolness, comes with 
laggard, lazy steps. The houses along the ridge 
seem in the drowsy sunshine to have no dwellers. 
Yet in the dim and distant past this pleasant spot 
echoed with the shouts and clang of fights, red war 
close by, and the pool shone ruddy with the lurid 
glare of burning Kenfig reflected from the skies. 
People, blenched with fear, sought safety in the church 
from double foe — man drunk with lust of blood, and 

fire with keen and lapping tongue. 



The pool embraces an area of 68 acres at the 
present time: in the year a.d. 18141 the area was 
%-^\ acres, and in a.d. 1876 the Ordnance Survey 
gives the area as 75^ acres. The configuration of 
the water-line next the sand-hills changes from time 
to time with the moods of the drifting sand ; the 
distance to high-water from the pool is 1,100 yards, 
all sand-dunes. The water is fresh, and is mainly 
from springs on the landward side and the rainfall. 
Its greatest depth is 12 feet as measured by Mr. 
R. W. Llewellyn, of Baglan Hall. 

The pool is locked in on all sides by sand-hills, 
except along its eastern side ; from here the grass- 
land rises to the ridge, which varies from 90 to 100 
feet above the sea-level, along which are the houses 
of Lower Kenfig, or Ton Kenfig, as it is variously 
named. It is curious, but no outlet or overflow 
can be seen, and yet outlet there must be. It 
seems clear to me, from the words of the charter 
of Thomas le Despenser, that a stream formerly 
flowed from the pool to the River Kenfig. The part 
of the charter referring to it is as follows : " Et tales 
sunt bunde libertatis eorum Videlicet inter locum 
vocatum Newditch et Taddulcrosse et quandam 
divisam ducentem de Newditch usque Taddulcrosse 
inter terram Abbathie de Margan et terram Abbathie 
de Teokesburie in parte oriental! et quendam rivu- 
lum vocatum Blaklaak qui solebat currere de aqua 
australi usque aquam borialem de Kenfig in parte 
occidental!, etc." 

• " The Borough of Kenfig," R. W. Llewellyn, Esq. {Arch, 
Camb., 1898). 


("And these are the bounds of their liberty, namely, 
between a place called Newditch and Taddulcrosse 
and a certain boundary leading from Newditch to 
Taddulcrosse between the land of the Abbey of 
Margan and the land of the Abbey of Teokesburie 
[Tewkesbury], on the east ; and a certain stream 
called Blaklaak {i.e., Black river] which used to 
7'un from the southern water [i.e., the Kenfig pool^ 
to the northern water of Kenefeg on the west, 

This, I think, is evidence of the existence at one 
time of a stream flowing from the pool to Kenfig 

The Rev. Thomas Howell tells me that when he 
was at school in Kenfig, he with the other boys used 
to bathe in the pool, and the schoolmaster always 
warned them to avoid the Gwtter-du, or Black ditch, 
in the pool. This seems to recall the Black River 
of the charters. 

At the north-west corner of the castle-bailey, at 
the point where the moat joined the river, a strong 
spring or stream of water issues — the Ffynon Lygad 
(the eye-spring). It is still resorted to, Mrs. Yorath, 
of the " Prince of Wales," tells me, by persons who 
have eye troubles. This stream is, possibly, part 
of the overflow from Kenfig Pool. The water thus 
apparently flowing from the ancient moat would show 
that a stream had been brought into the moat at its 
point nearest the pool, as the water would be required 
as an auxiliary to the River Kenfig in dry weather for 
filling the moat. 

The river, referred to elsewhere as the Black river, 


must have been considerably west of the town. It 
doubtless was the natural outlet for the waters of the 

The only mention of Kenfig Pool in the Margam 
MSS. is in T. 231 (C. MCLXXXVII): a mandate by 
the Rector of Coytiffi and the Rural Dean of 
Gronyth,- Special Commissaries to Thomas Lovel 
or Louel, clerk, to cite John Philip of Kenefeg, Rees 
ap Gruff Gethyn of Avan, Hoel ap Gruff' Hagur 
and others to attend in Kenfig Church in the suit 
of Margam Abbey against them for unlawful fishing 
in Kenfig Pool and Avan waters. Dated at Coytiff, 
2nd Nov., A.D. 1365. 

It is endorsed with a certificate of the due citation 
of the above defendants, who are called Hoel' ap 
Gruff Hagir,-^ Rees ap Gruff Gethyn, Jevan ap 
Philipot, Rees ap . . . ap . . . , Thomas de 
Browneswolde of Avan. 11 Nov., a.d. 1365, at 

In T. 232 (C. MCLXXXVII I), we have the record 
of the proceedings before the Dean in Kenfig Church, 
in the case between the Abbot and Rees ap Gruff 
Gethyn, Hoel' Du ap Gruff Hagur, Jevan ap Philipot, 
Rees ap Wylym, Thomas Browneswold of Avan, 
John Philip, W. Steward, John Thomas, Philip 
Walsche, W. Marie, John Doyle, John Day, 
W. Hauker, and Henry Prowting of Kenfeg, 

Kenfig Pool is called in the mandate " Kenefeeg is 

' Coity. 

2 Groneath. 

3 Probably Hagr — ugly, unseemly. 


Poll " ; when I first saw it I did not realise it meant 
Kenfig Pool. 

Rees confessed that he took fish in the Avan river, 
but took them justly, and thus had fallen under 
sentence of excommunication. He was ordered to 
prove his right at Newcastle Church on the follow- 
ing Monday. 

John Philipot and the others confess to having 
fished in the water and fishery of Kenfig and Avan 
and are left to the grace and absolution of the 

At Kenfig the defendant Rees delivered in his 
defence that his ancestors had forfeited their jurisdic- 
tion in their courts, and the abbot exhibited deeds of 
appropriation, confirmation, and agreement to prove 
their right. Then the defendant admitted and con- 
fessed that after Robert Fitzhaymon had conquered 
the hereditary land of him (the said Rees) and others, 
with the water and fishery in dispute, two hundred and 
seventeen years past — i.e., a.d. 1148 — he, the said 
Robert, gave the said fishery to Margam Abbey in 
recompense for injuries it had sustained at the hands 
of his (Rees') ancestors. 

6 Nov., A.D. 1365. 

* S' DE (can) ATV (s.) DE . GR ONYTH. 

In T. 232 (C. MCXC) we have the record of an 
Assize of Novel-dissein before a jury of twelve men in 
the Glamorgan County Court, held at Cardiff, taken 
before Sir Edward de Stratelyng, Knt., Sheriff of 
Glamorgan and Morgan, whereby John, Abbot of 


Margam, recovers with 40s. damages his fishery o. 
salmons, gyllyngs, I suwyngs,- and several other fish in 
the water of Avene, from the head thereof down to 
the place where it goes into the sea (worth ^10 
yearly), against Rees, son of Gruffin Gethyn, and 
Howel, son of Griffin' Hager, each of whom is fined 
3d. damages. 40 Ed. III., Monday before Midsummer 
Day, A.D. 1366. 

T. 234 (C. MCLXXXIX) is a mandate issued 
the same day by Edward de Stratelyng to Wm. 
Wynchestre, bailiff of the county, or to Nicholas 
Cantelo, sub-bailiff, to deliver seisin to Abbot John 
of the several fishery of Auene which he has thus 

By order of Lord Edward le Despenser. Cardiff, 
Monday, St. Alban's Day, 22 June, a.d. 1366. 

On the margin of the pool is found the spearwort 3 
bright with intense yellow. But the glory of the pool 
is the water-lily,4 which grows in abundance on the 
seaward side. 

' Gyllyng. A salmon on its second return from the sea is 
sometimes called a gilling in the Severn District (1880, Buck- 
land, 19 Report Salmon Fish). The Salmon growes by their 
degrees and ages, viz., i. a pinke ; 2. a botcher ; 3. a salmon 
trout ; 4. a gillinge ; 5. a salmon (1640, J. Smith, Hundred of 
Berkeley : an extract from the " Oxford Dictionary," 1901). 

^ The Sewin. Many writers maintain that this hsh is a dis- 
tinct species ; others, as Dr. Giinther, regard it as a trout. 
Aflalo writes, " The Peal, Sewin, or Bull-Trout, is also re- 
garded by most writers as a species, though not admitted by 
Smitt as more than a variety of the Sea-Trout." Salino cambri- 
cus Dr. Giinther terms the Sewin of Wales. 

3 Ranunculus lingua. 

< Nymphoea alba. 


The Groes-y-dadl. 

The Kenfig river and Goylake brook run parallel 
for some distance and not far apart, as if too coy to 
join fortunes, but a high hill causes them to join and 
go together to greet the sea. On top of this high hill, 
a quarter of a mile west of the junction, stands the 
base of a cross, the Groes-y-dadl as it is known to-day, 
but correctly the Groes-y-dadleu — the cross of conten- 
tion, of dispute, of debating; this is the " Taddul- 
crosse " of the charter of Thomas le Despenser to the 
burgesses of A. D. 1397. 

The Groes-y-dadl, to use the name now in use, 
marked a celebrated spot in the life of ancient Kenfig, 
for here came the townspeople to settle, or try to 
settle, by debate, and perhaps by stronger measures, 
their grievances and disputes. What a quiet spot it 
is to-day ! No cries rend the air, as disputants shouted 
to each other, the idle bystanders, as they are ever 
wont, adding to the confusion. All is still and peace- 
ful as you stand by the base of the Cross ; to the 
south-east the view is charming — no prettier scene of 
pastoral country can be seen ; below lies Danes' Vale, 
with smiling fields in green and gold ; further ofT and 
nearer south are the rounded hills of Old Dallas,^ 
green with trees to mark their swelling pride ; and 
snugly ensconced under them is fair Ty Tanglwys, 
once the home of Tanguistel, who married Ketherech 
Du, owner of much of Peiteuin. 

Ty Tanglwys — ty, house ; tan, under ; glwys, a 
delectable and fair spot : a house so pleasantly 
' Bal-las — ho , a belly, a rounded hill, and glas-las^ green. 


situated as to give one the feeling that it is almost 
a hallowed solitude. 

Truly has it been named ; the view is somewhat 
like that seen from the Groes-y-dadl, except that you 
are looking towards the cross to the north. It is a 
fair and glorious scene ; on the west you look over 
smiling fields, and in the distance see the glittering 
Hafren sea and in front of you Corneli, looking fair 
and prosperous, as should a place dedicated to the 
patron saint of beeves, Saint Corneli. The back- 
ground of the view is the crowning part ; you see 
right up to the top of the valley of the Kenfig river, 
and all along are the Margam mountains, framing, as 
it were, the delightful prospect. Ty Tanglwys is a 
smiling solitude. 

To return again to the Groes-y-dadl. Through the 
glorious landscape creeps the Roman highway, ^ as 
narrow as it was when the Second Legion passed 
along, and up in front it climbs, passing Ty Tanglwys, 
a white, narrow streak, and then we lose it just east 
of Old Dallas trees, for it goes to meet the pleasant 
breezes of Stormy Down ; in winter the Roman 
soldiers cursed its nakedness and nearness to the 
clouds when it had reached the open downs. On 
your left is the narrow gorge, the Forth or Gate, 
through which the Kenfig river emerges and in which 
is hidden Llantihangel Mill, as hot in that hollow 
to-day as Araby. On the south side of the gorge is 
Marias, with goodly trees and grateful shade. Here 

' Heol-y-sheet : this is a puzzle ; what it means I cannot say, 
there being no " sh " sound in Welsh. It may be a corruption 
of Heol-y-stryd, the road of the vale, or the main road. 


Thomas le Marie invented a new excuse, although it 
was so long ago, for taking the property of others ; he 
did it out of " levity of mind." A little south by east 
stands amon^ noble trees and brightest meadows the 

o o 

Hall, where nearly eight hundred years ago Thomas 
Gramus lived and loved and gave his lands with lavish 
hand to Blessed Mary of Margan. 

Dominating all is the British camp on the end of 
the ridge of Cefn Cribwr east from here, and one 
clearly sees the importance of the position of the 
ancient camp seated right on the point. Old " Castel 
Kribor " was in far-off days a noted place of defence — 
so important that I venture in all humility to say it 
gave its name to Pyle or Pylle or Pill, as it is variously 
spelled. Pill is a fortress, a place of defence, in 
Welsh. ^ Pyle lay at the feet of the camp and gladly 
took its name. 

Turn round to look to west, and then no pleasant 
fields greet the eye ; the golden sands reign supreme. 

We have read in the Ordinance of Kenfig of the 
cross and the care with which it was guarded. I do 
not know if it was the Groes-y-dadl ; I am inclined to 
think it refers to the market cross. All towns and 
villages had their market cross, in some cases open 
and vaulted structures. Mr. Pope, in his "Old Stone 
Crosses of Dorset," says: "Often on market and fair 
days a preaching friar would address the people from 
the market-cross, reminding them of the sacredness of 
bargains, and telling them, both buyers and sellers, to 
be true and just in all their dealings, and that ' no one 

' Leland : " In the Edge of a Mountaine northward standith 
an old Castle or Pyle, called Castle Coch." 


ought to go beyond or defraud his brother in any 
matter.' " The same writer says : " There were 
Memorial Crosses, Churchyard or Preaching-Crosses, 
Market, and Village -Crosses, Boundary -Crosses, 
Weeping-Crosses, and Pilgrim-Crosses." 

Although the cross was known as the Groes-y-dadl, 
it was erected for a different purpose from that of 
marking a place of contention and of disputes. The 
emblem of the Passion of the Saviour of the world 
was placed by the roadside, on mountains, and in 
lonely places so that passers-by might be reminded of 
the sufferings endured for their sake, for things and 
events presented to the eye are realised more vividly 
than when read of or spoken of. At these roadside 
crosses funeral processions were formerly stopped for 
a rest and meditation. In the words of a writer in 
the fifteenth century, " For this reason ben crosses 
by ye waye, that when folke passinge see the crosses, 
they sholde thynke on Hym that dyed on the Crosse, 
and worshyppe Hym above all thynge." ^ 

The Groes-y-dadl was placed high above the sur- 
rounding country, a short distance from the then main 
highway and near the road leading to S. Mary 
Magdalene's Chapel. Here, doubtless, as funeral 
processions wended their way to the chapel of S. 
James's Church, as the sacred emblem came in sight 
a halt would be made — the last halt before the earthly 

Not far off, on the road passing Marias Farm, is 

' " Dives and Pauper." Printed by Wynken de Worde a.d. 1496. 
From " Forgotten Sanctuaries," by Miss Gwenllian E. F. 


the Groes Siencyn, an incised cross with arms of 
about eleven inches long on a round-headed slab ; it 
marks the borough boundary. The Rev. Thomas 
Howell tells me it marks the spot where a man 
was buried in an upright position, and great was the 
fear with which he and other boys passed the cross 
at night. 

On the side of the turnpike road, about seven 
hundred yards up the hill towards Stormy Down, is 
the base of a wayside cross similar to the base of the 

On the boundary line of Kenfig parish south of 
Groes Siencyn stood another cross, the Groes-y-gryn ; 
perhaps Groes-y-gryniau, the cross of groanings. 

In the churchyard of St. James's at Pyle a consider- 
able part of the churchyard cross still remains, and in 
the position usually given to the cross in front of the 
entrance door — one of the few remaining crosses in 
our " God's acres." 

In Margam parish, the Abbey MSS. tell us, a cross 
existed on the roadside leading from Rhyd Blaen-y- 
Cwm, at the top of Kenfig Valley, to Ton Mawr ; it 
was called Groes Gruffyd. Another cross stood near 
Ton Grugos, at the top of the lane leading up the 
mountain from Troed-y-rhiw. Cynan's Cross " stood 
on the roadside between the top of Cwm Kenfig and 
the top of Baiden. There was also a cross called 
Brombil's Cross, probably the village cross, at Groes, 
and which may be the reason of the village being so 
named. It is probable that all the crosses remained 

^ Cynan may be the son of Cynwyd, patron saint of Llangyn- 


until the Act for the demolition of crosses, passed 
1643, came into force. 


A considerable part of Kenfig borough lies in 
Margam parish, and in this part is a farm having a 
name which had long puzzled me — Ty'n-y-seler ; ^ on 
the Ordnance Survey, Ty'n-y-Cellar. It stands on 
the west side of the Roman road Heol-y-troedwyr, 
"Soldier's Lane," or, as it is now called, Water Street, 

As to the origin of the name : in the monasteries 
it was the rule to allocate farms or other property to 
the offices of the various officials, with which to pro- 
vide the necessary funds for carrying on the duties 
appertaining to them. The abbot, the cellarer, the 
sacrist, the almoner, the infirmarer, the tailor, the 
shoemaker, and others, each had lands with separate 
granges. In that delightful book, "The Chronicle of 
Jocelin of Brakelond, Monk of St. Edmundsbury," we 
are told, for instance, about the cellarer of St. 
Edmund's Abbey. " The cellarer had his messuage 
and barns near Scurun's well, at which place he was 
accustomed to exercise his jurisdiction upon robbers 
and to hold his court for all pleas and plaints. Also 
at that place he was accustomed to put his men in 
pledge, and to enroll them and to renew their pledges 
every year, and to take such profit therefor as the 
bailiff of the town was to take at the portman-moot. 
This messuage, with the adjacent garden, now in the 
occupation of the infirmarer (the Abbey official who 
' Seler — cellar. % 


had charge of the sick), was the mansion of Beodric, 
who was of old time the lord of the town, and 
after whom also the town came to be called Beodrics- 
worth. His demesne lands are now in the demesne 
of the cellarer . . . and the total amount of the 
holding of himself and his churls was thirty times 
thirty acres of land. . . ." 

T. 280 (C. MCCCXVIII) is a lease for seventy 
years by Abbot John Gruffydd to Jevan ap David ap 
Jankyn and his wife of two parcels of the tithes of the 
sheaves at Ffynon Gattuke, one of which belongs to 
the " Domus Sutorum," or the shoemaker's house, of 
the Abbey of Margam, and the other parcel to the 
stibselaria of the Abbey. Subsellaria is the sub- 
cellarer's house. 

T. 4120 is a lease by Sir Edward Mansell of a 
messuage and tenement in the parish of Margam, 
manor of East Margam and Higher Kenfigge, called 
"The Cellar." This is Ty'n Seler. Dated a.d. 1692. 

Here, then, we have the key to the meaning of 
Ty'n-y-Seler, the farm or homestead assigned to 
the cellarer of Margam Abbey or the homestead 
of the cellar, the office of the cellarer, shortened by 
custom into Ty'n-y-Seler. The cellarer was one of 
the most important of the Abbey officials ; the official, 
in the song of " Simon the Cellarer," existed only in 
the imagination of the writer. The cellarer was the 
manager, in fact, of the monastic establishment ; 
he was the purveyor of all foodstuffs for the com- 
munity ; he had to keep an eye on all stores, to 
see that the corn came into the granges and flour 
from the mills, that flesh, fish, and vegetables 


were ready at hand. He had to attend fairs and 
markets to make purchases. All the servants were 
under him, and he alone could engage or dismiss, and 
he presided at their table. He also saw to the fuel 
supply, repairs and purchases of all materials. The 
cellarer's accounts, which have come down to us, are 
models of carefully kept documents ; they invariably 
commenced with the entry of the cost of the parch- 
ment on which the account is written. 

John de la Warre, cellarer of Margam Abbey, 
became Abbot in a.d. 1237, and Bishop of Llandaff 
in A.D. 1253. 

Ty-yn-y-seler, Ty-yn-y-ffynnon, shortened into Ty'n- 
y-seler, ty'n-y-ffynnon, regarded as the house in the 
cellar and the house in the well, is nonsense. Properly 
it should be Tyddyn-y-Seler — the homestead of the 
cellar, and Tyddyn-y-ffynnon — the homestead of the 
well. " Tyddyn seems to mean a ' house-hill,' i.e. a 
place suited for a house. Ty, a house — in old Welsh, 
tig — is for tegios, corresponding to the Greek TI70C (a 
house). From the word tig is partly derived the 
word tyddyn, plural tyddynau. In modern Welsh 
place-names tyddyn is reduced to tyn, as Tyn yr 
onnen for Tyddyn yr onnen ; Tyn Siarlas for 
Tyddyn Siarlas (Charles's tenement)." ^ 

Lewis, in the " Ancient Laws of Wales," writes : — 
" Tyddyn : this word also denoted an acre of land with 
the homestead on it. The Venedotian Code gives 
maenor (in place of the trev) = 4 trevs = 16 rhandirs 
(sharelands) = 64 gavaels = 256 tyddyns = 1,024 
erws. The erw was the unit of occupied land, and 
' " The Welsh People," Rhys and Jones. 


it was measured with the plough." The same author 
says : " The measure of a lawful acre, i.e. erw, is a 
rod of the length of the tallest man in the vill, with 
the length of his arm ; sixty lengths of that rod are to 
be the length of the erw ; its breadth is the length of 
that rod on either side of the driver, with the length of 
his arm, he holding the middle of the middle yoke in 
the plough." 

The Maenh!r at Ty'n-y-Seler. 

Standing in a field, near Ty'n-y-seler, is a large 
monolith or maenhtr 8 feet high, 5J feet wide, and 
3 feet thick. Miss Emily David, Maesgwyn, informed 
me that it is said in the neighbourhood this huge 
stone goes each Christmas morning before cockcrow, 
to drink in the sea. 

When we look at this great solitary stone we are 
apt to wonder, as probably did the Romans fifteen 
hundred years ago, and ask — many have asked me — 
What is the meaning of it ; for what purpose was it 
placed there } It has no inscription on it, nothing to 
indicate to us the reason for its standing there ; grim 
and impassive it stands. 

We must look to other parts, where knowledge has 
been gained regarding these monoliths, for the key 
with which to unlock the secret. 

The Rev. S. Baring-Gould, in a book on Brittany, 
writes : " The menhir is an upright stone, standing 
alone; but one cannot be certain that it is not a solitary 
stone spared from a row that has been destroyed. In 
England, this is nearly always the case. Sometimes 



these upright stones have hollows worked in them — 
cup marks — that have been objects of much specula- 
tion. Councils of the Church in Gaul expressly 
forbade the anointmg of obelisks, and to the present 
day peasants still daub them with honey, wax, or 
oil. . . . 

** The alignment is a series of parallel rows of 
upright stones, erected in honour of a dead chief, 
each household contributinof a stone. . . . On Dart- 
moor, where there are over a quarter of a hundred of 
these stone-rows, all without exception start from a 
tomb. In one instance, where three bodies had been 
buried in as many stone boxes in one cairn, three 
rows start from the same mound. . . . The custom 
was never wholly discontinued. With the advent 
of the Britons, >= menhirs continued to be set up, 
and were called leeks, '^ some bearing inscriptions, but 
many without. Indeed, it was usual for a saint when 
he travelled to take his lech with him, ready to be 
planted at his head when he died. A great number 
of these remain." 

I pity the poor saint who may have carried the 
Ty'n-y-Seler leeh about with him ! 

In Brittany there are immense maenhirs. One at 
Dol is twenty-eight feet above the surface, and sixteen 
feet of it is embedded below. The Men-er-H'roech 

^ The Iberian, Ivernian, or Silurian race — the race which 
underhes the population of all Western Europe. It came from 
Asia, and crossing Europe, reached and spread over Britain and 
also Ireland. This is the race which left these maenhirs and 
other monuments. Later, the Gauls conquered these people. 
Then came the Roman domination. 

' Welsh llech^ a stone. 


[To face p.i^ic 194. 


at Locmariaquer was sixty-four feet high before it was 
shattered by lightning. 

Mr. Bertram Windle, in " Remains of the Pre- 
historic Age in England," writes : " The menhir or 
standing-stone is as ancient an institution as it is 
world-wide, and, in the shape of obelisks and 
monuments, persistent. Such stones . . . are some- 
times met with in conjunction with other varieties 
of megaliths. Sometimes, as at the Tingle-stone 
barrow, the menhir is on the mound ; sometimes as 
at Ablington, it is inside the chamber of burial ; 
sometimes it is embedded in the substance of the 
mound itself. Again, the menhir may be quite 
isolated and independent of other ancient remains. 
Perhaps this is the most common occurrence." 

It is possible, therefore, that theTy'n-y-Seler maenhir 
may be the only remaining stone of a row of others, 
or it may be an independent standing-stone marking 
the burial-place of a great chief of prehistoric days. 
I am inclined to think it always stood alone. If it 
means little to us to-day, it was an important object to 
those who lived long, long before us ; it was placed 
there as a memorial of a man looked up to by his 
people. ^ 

^ Mr. Evan John, of Ty'n-y-Seler, recently told me of a large 
stone lying on Margam Moors, and of the tradition in the neigh- 
bourhood about it, that Samson threw it from near the " Pound" 
at Margam, to where it lies, five-sixths of a mile away. I found 
it to be a maenhir lying on the ground, partly covered with 
earth and over-grown by a thorn-bush. Having regard to its 
position it may have had some relation to the maenhir at Ty'n-y- 
Seler, from which it stands north-west about one and an eighth 
mile, and half a mile outside of Kenfig Borough boundary to 


What an interesting district is this! Here we have 
a monument of prehistoric times, a highway of Roman 
times, and a mediaeval castle all within a small area. 

Now, after this long digression, I hope my readers 
will not think it amiss if I return to dry manuscripts — 
dry to some, maybe, but delightful to me. 

the north, in Margam Parish. The stone measures nine feet 
in length, six feet in width, and one foot in thickness, but a large 
flake of stone near had evidently been split off it, so that it was 
formerly much thicker. It probably weighed nearly four tons 
originally and must have been an imposing monument when 
upright. When the ditch was made near the stone, in the time 
of the monks, it was carried partly round it, and I have no doubt 
the digging of the ditch caused the fall of the stone. 

This maenhir stood in a peculiar position, for at high-water 
of spring tides, before the first of the sea walls was constructed, 
it would be surrounded by the tidal waters. 


I CAN NOT write of Kenfig without mentioning 
an important family of landowners, and to 
make the account more interesting, I am able to tell 
you the names of the wives of some of them. 

Thomas Gramus, or Grammus, as the name is 
variously spelled, lived in The Hall at Cornell, and he 
and his family owned part of the lands near there, and 
also in other parts. They, from time to time, parted 
with their lands to Margam Abbey, and so it is that 
we know of them through the ancient MSS. of the 

Gillebert Gramus,^ as we have seen in the chapter 
on the town, page 155, gave to Margam Abbey 
ten acres of land beginning at Kenfig River and 
then along the ancient cemetery. Aliz, his wife, 
gave her consent. Gilbert, Abbot of Margam, one 
of the witnesses, occurs a.d. 1203-12 13. Ernald, 
constable of Kenfig, another, occurs in the time 
of Morgan ap Caradoc. 

I may say of the first of the family nothing is 

^ Gillebert Gramus's charters were confirmed by Pope 
Innocent III. in a.d. 1203. 



known, beyond the name of his son, Richard, who 
appears as a witness in early deeds ; the relation- 
ship of Gillebert to Richard is not ascertainable. 

Gillebert's son Roger married Agnes, and had 
four sons and a daughter : (i) Thomas, heir, occurs 
in A.D. 1 245-1 264 — he married Ysota (Yseud, 
Ysoud, or Isota) the sister of William Luvel, and 
had a son Philip ; (2) Hugh, had a son Thomas ; 

(3) Roger, occurs in a.d. 1245 — his wife was Alice. 

(4) Maurice, occurs in a.d. i 253-1 261 — he married 
Johanna, daughter of Philip ap David of Kenfig ; 

(5) Alice, married Roger Palmer. William Gramus 
seems to have been the last of the family ; he was 
a witness to a deed in a.d. 131 2. 

Roger Gramus, senior, by Harley Charter 75, C. 3 
(C. DCCIII), leases for ten years from Christmas, 
A.D. 1202, to the monks of Margam his part of the 
land between Kenfig and Goilache, Afon fach, for 
ten marks paid beforehand, with power to the monks 
to renew the lease. Pledged in the hands of Osmer : 
" Et sciendum quod affidavi in manu Osmeri me hoc 
totum servare sine omni dolo et sine omni malo 
ingenio." This phrase "affidavi in manu" occurs 
frequently in the Margam deeds, and relates to the 
practice mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis' in the 
chapter on the Welsh nation, "and so lightly do 
they esteem the covenant of faith, held so inviolable 
by other nations, that it is usual to sacrifice their faith 
for nothing, by holding forth the right hand, not only 
in serious and important matters, but even on every 

' " Itinerary through Wales," by Giraldus Cambrensis. 
A.D. 1188. 


trifling occasion, and for the confirmation of almost 
every common assertion." Mr. J. H. Round says 
in Geoffrey de Mandeville that the custom survives 
in some places. 

Thomas, chaplain of Kenefeg ; Walter Luvel ; 
Thomas the miller, and others, are witnesses to 
Roger's deed. 

Roger, by Harley Charter 75, C. 5, grants, with 
assent of his wife Agnes, and Thomas his son and 
Isota his wife, to Hugh his son, for his homage, two 
and a half acres of land near that of Maurice Gramus 
on the west, and the stream called Goyelake on the 
north and south ; rent yearly, three halfpence. Eight 
shillings premium to the grantor and five shillings to 

Witnesses : Walter Luvel ; W. de Corneli ; ^ 
Wasmer,2 and others. 

The bearing on the ^ s rogeriigramus 
seal is a fleur-de-lis. >^ sigil'. thome. gramus. 

Hugh Gramus, soon after, parted with his two and 
a half acres of land to the Abbot of Margam, as we 
find from the next deed. 

Harley Charter 75, C. 6 (C. DCCV), is a confirma- 
tion by Roger and his son Thomas Gramus, his heir, 
to the monks of two and a half acres of arable land 
which Hugh Gramus held, and gave to the Abbey 
by charter, paying yearly therefor to Roger and 

^ Occurs in a.d. 1245. 

2 Wasmer, derived from was, gwas^ "a servant," mer=mair 
Mary ; the servant of Mary, probably the servant of St. Mary's 
Church, Margam. 


Thomas 2^d., and to the House of St. John of 
Jerusalem id. Witnesses : Walter Luvel ; Richard 
the clerk, and others. 

T. 289, 25 is a confirmation by Roger, son of Gille 
Gramus, of the gift to the Abbey of his free tenement 
adjacent to the water of Kenefeg. Witnesses : William 
de Lichesfield, William Punchardun, monks ; William 
de Bordesl^^, Richard Cnitth, conversi ; Tomas de 
Cornell ; Gille Gramus ; Adam Gramus, and others. 

The conversi were lay brethren, who, according to 
Cistercian custom, worked on the farms or grranofes. 

Roger Gramus, by a deed dated a.d. 1203, 
T. 289, 27 (C. DCCIV), granted to Margam Abbey 
all the land from the Great Stone, directly opposite 
Cohilake, Afon fach, on the east, and on the south of 
the highway leading towards Castle- Kibur, in fee farm 
for half a mark. Ten years' rent paid beforehand. 
The witnesses are the same as in the previous deed. 

Cohilake is another variant of Goylake. Castle 
Kibur is the British encampment on the west end of 
Cefn Cribwr ; a farm near it is called Pen Castell. 
I believe all earthwork camps which were used later 
by the Normans were afterwards known as castles. 
I do not know of the Great Stone. Probably it has 
been broken up for road mending, as is often the 

In another deed, T. 289, 26, Roger confirmed to the 
Abbey the land between the high-road from Kenfig to 
Castle Kibur and the water of Kenefeg, which his 
father gave to the monks, also marl from his marl-pit. 
Walter Luvel and Ernald, the constable of Kenefeg, 
are among the witnesses. 


I have already, in the reference to the highway and 
Pont Felin Newydd, or Kenfig bridge, mentioned a 
deed by Thomas Gramus, Roger's son and heir. 

Harley Charter 75, C. 12 (C. DCCCCLXXXVIII), 
is a confirmation by Thomas Gramus, with assent of 
Ysota his wife, to his brother Maurice of four and a 
half acres of land, two of which lie near the land of 
Henry Baret on the east side, two near the land of 
Hugh Juvenis on the west side, from the high-road 
as far as Goylake, half an acre lies between the land 
the monks had by gift of Hugh Gramus (see gift by 
Hugh Gramus supra) and the land of Thomas 
Gramus towards Goylake, at a yearly rent of 4d. at 
Ockeday,^ and for three marks silver and i8d. premium. 
Walter Luvel and Roger Gramus are among the 

Harley Charter 75, C. 13 T. 289, 50 (C. 
DCCCCXCI). In this, Thomas Gramus sells to 
the Abbot and Convent of Margam for four shillings 
a rent of fivepence in which they were bound, viz. : 
fourpence for his brother Maurice's land and a penny 
for his fee. Walter Luvel is one of the witnesses. 

Harley Charter 75, C. 9 (C. DCCCCXXH), is a 
quit claim by Thomas Gramus to Hugh, his brother, 
of his right to the land which their father gave to 
Roger Palmer, brother-in-law of the above Thomas, 

' Dr. E. C. Brewer, in " Dictionary of Phrase and Fable," says : 
" Hock-day, or Hock-Tuesday, the day when the EngHsh sur- 
prised and slew the Danes, who had annoyed them for 255 years. 
This Tuesday was long held as a festival in England, and land- 
lords received an annual tribute called Hock-money for allowing 
their tenants and serfs to commemorate Hock-day, which was 
the second Tuesday after Easter-day." 


lying between the land of Adam Alberd and that of 
John the priest. For this deed Richard Flandrensis, 
(or Fleming), constable of Kenefeg. for love of Hugh, 
the grantor's brother, gave him a pair of boots [par 
estivalhmi)^ worth i8d., and a sisa- of beer to Ysota, 
the grantor's wife. Pledged in the hand of Thomas, 
priest of Laniltwit. Richard Flandrensis and Walter 
Luvel are among- the witnesses, 

Harley Charter 76, C. 8 (C. CXX.). Thomas 
again, with Isud's consent, grants to Hugh, son of 
Hugh, two acres of arable land on the high-road to 
Goilake, eight rods wide, rent 2d., and 2 silver marks 
consideration money. Witnesses : William de Cor- 
nell, William Cole, 3 Gilbert de Neth, Henry de 
Neth, William de Sancto Donato, Adekin Jurdan. 

T. 289, 44 (C. DCCCCXXV). This is a grant by 
Thomas to the Abbey of three acres of land in the 
culture of Deumay, from Goylake stream to the road 
leading from Kenefeg to Catteputte, two adjacent to 
the land of Maurice, his brother, on the east, and the 
third to that of Thomas Russell, also on the east. 

Harley Charter y ^,C.i I. T . 289,41 (C. DCCCCXXI). 
By this deed Thomas Gramus, with consent of Ysota 
his wife, confirms the release of Roger Gramus, his 
father, of half a silver mark to the monks, which they 
were bound to pay yearly, with due recognisance of a 
pair of white gloves, or one penny at Easter. The 
deed is attested by William de Cornell, Richard the 

' Estivalia — ocrece, species calceorum (boots, kind of shoes) — Du 

2 A barrel of some size. 

3 Occurs in a.d. 1244. 


clerk, David Wasmeir, and others. Dated Midsummer 
Day, A.D. 1245. 

T. 144, 289,38 (C. DCCCCXXVIII), is a quit-claim 
by Thomas Gramus, with assent of Ysota his wife, to 
Margam Abbey of a rent of threepence halfpenny 
due by the Abbey to him for three acres and a half 
of land held of the gift of his brother Hugh. He 
swears on the sacrosancta ^ that he will never sell, 
give, or alienate any of his land against the will of 
the monks, but if he is compelled to do so, the monks 
to have the option of acquiring it. Witnesses : 
Walter Luvel, David Wasmeyr, and others. Dated 
I May, A.D. 1245. 

On the day of the Invention of Holy Cross, 3 May, 
A.D. 1254, Thomas Gramus pawns six acres of his 
land to the Abbot and Convent of Margam for ten 
pounds silver. 

T. 165 (C. MCCCCXXXH) is the acquittance by 
the above for ten pounds silver for six acres of land with 
appurtenances, of which three acres lie next to the acre 
which the monks had of him before on the west of 
Thomas Russel's land, and in length extending from 
the stream of Goylake to the highway that leads from 
Kenefeg to Catteputte, i.e., Pwll-y-gath. Two of them 
lie in the culture called Deumay adjacent to the road 
which leads from his house to the highway which 
leads from Kenefeg to the aforesaid Catteputte, except 
three acres of his land lying in between ; and in length 
extends from the said stream of Goylake as far as the 

^ The relics of saints and martyrs and a piece of wood of the 
true cross, which were contained in a cross which stood on the 
high altar of Margam Church. 


aforesaid highway. The sixth acre Hes on the south 
of Goylake, near the said monks' land, and extends 
in length from Water Luvel's land called Heuedaker, 
or Hevedaker, as far as the said Goylake, having his 
(Thomas's) lands on the west part. At a rent of 6d ; 
the land redeemable by repayment of the ten pounds 
silver to the abbot and convent. 

This is an interesting deed. Thomas Gramus's 
house is now called The Hall, at North Corneli, just 
east of the boundary between Kenfig and Pyle ; the 
road he mentions as leading from his house to the 
highway is the path and lane still existing, they join 
the road east, a little, of Marias farm, at this point a 
little altered by the making of the Great Western 
Railway. The Hall, or part of it, is therefore a very 
ancient dwelling. 

Thus we learn the situation of Hevedaker — doubt- 
less Hafod-decaf, the fairest summer abode — which 
lies between Marias and The Hall. It is certainly a 
fair and sunny spot. Walter Luvel, Philip de Corneli, 
Wm. Frankelyn, and others are witnesses. Endorsed : 
" Carta Thome Gramus de X. libris." 

For one reason or other the Abbot and Convent of 
Margam managed to get possession of the above 
pawned six acres of land, and they lost no time; for on 
Whitsunday, 31 May, a.d. 1254, Thomas gave the 
land to God and the Church of Blessed Mary of Mar- 
gam. The situation of the land is described in the 
same terms as the deed of pawn. The witnesses are 
the same. Endorsed : " Carta Thome Gramus de sex 
acris terre." 



I think at this time Ysota must have been dead — 
Thomas does not mention her name ; had she been 
aHve Thomas would have been obliged to obtain her 
consent. I find since writing this Ysoude was still 
alive, for in a.d. 1261 Thomas asks her consent 
to another g-ift of land. 

Thomas Gramus borrows again from the monks. 
T. 168, 289, 52 (C. DCCCCLXXIV) is a deed of 
mortgage to Margam Abbey, for a loan of ten marks 
for forty years, of all his land between Goylake on the 
south and the land called Longelonde on the north 
Henry Bareth's on the east, and Alice Gramus's land 
on the west, except one acre which William Franke- 
leyn holds. A rent of fourpence yearly accruing is to 
be reckoned against the Abbey, so as to reduce the 
repayment to the sum of nine marks. 

T. 280, 56 (C. DCCCCLXXV) is a grant by 
Thomas Gramus to the Abbey of half an acre of land 
which Alice Gramus formerly bought of the grantor 
between Goylake and Langeland, but he redeemed it. 
To be held with the land called Sculue in frank 
almoign. Dated a.d. 1258. I do not know the 
location of the land Sculue, or Scilwe, or La Schilue. 

Thomas Gramus appears to have been an important 
personage, judging from the following document : 

T. 164, 289, 62, (C. DCCCCLXI) is a grant by 
John Bareth, clerk, son of Henry Bareth, of Kenefeg, 
with assent of his lord, Thomas Gramus, to the Abbey 
of three acres of arable land in the culture of Deumay, 
from Goylake to Langelond. 

Witnesses : W. Frankeleyn, Maurice Gramus, and 



Thomas Gramus mortgaged by deed T. 172 
(C. DCCCCLXXXIX) to the abbot an acre of 
arable land at Gretehulle, ^ near the monks' land 
on the west, and along the north from the grantor's 
land near Goylake as far as Walter Luvel's land, 
and it is five rods in width, for thirty shillings, in 
goods and money, and id. rent yearly, with power of 
redemption for thirty shillings, notwithstanding any 
prohibition of the King or the Earl. 

Walter Luvel, Philip the clerk of Kenefeg, and 
others are witnesses. Dated a.d. 1261. 

This acre of land passed to the monks soon after, 
for T. 167, 289, 61 (C. DCCCCXC) is a grant of 
it, with assent of Ysoud his wife, to Margam Abbey. 
The same witnesses. Dated on St. Thomas's Day, 
21 Dec, 1261. 

He further granted, T. 289, 62 (C. DCCCCXXVII), 
with assent of Yseuda his wife, to the Abbey two acres 
of land upon Gretehulle. Philip de Corneli and others 
are witnesses. 

Harley Charter 75, C. 10 (C. DCCCCXXIX) is a 
grant by Thomas Gramus, with assent of Ysota his 
wife, to William Frankelain of an acre of land stretch- 
ing from Goylake to Scilwe, next to the acre of Hugh 
Gramus on the west side, which Roger Gramus, the 
grantor's brother, held, at a yearly rent of id., and 
eleven shillings and ten pence consideration money 

Witnesses : Matthew the chaplain, Henry de Neth, 
William, Thomas, and Philip Cole, and others. 

' Gretehulle, or Greathill, is the hill south of the old railway 
station at Pyle. 



\MUtiT*-tl>ciwtb lui"^Wm .Icm ami pnticnr Sis AffiT-j nrntttntut V n>mtM'>n xti^'«« (fanum cwtfwienKaiU'?' 


[To face t^a^e 207. 


Harley Charters 75, A. '\>^, 39, T. 289, 55 
(C. CXXXIII) give an agreement between Mar- 
gam Abbey and William Frankelein, by which Wil- 
liam mortgaged for 30 years from St. Mark's Day, 
25 April, A.D. 1258, the acre of land given him by 
Thomas Gramus, for one mark, with power of redemp- 
tion on paying the mark, and cost of improvement ; 
2d. to be reckoned off the money as yearly rent. 

Thomas Grammus and others witnesses. 

A photograph of Harley Charter 75, A. 38 is given, 
and the Latin text is given in full. 

Hec est conventio facta inter abbatem et con- 
ventum de Margam ex parte una recipientem et 
Willelmum Frankelein tradentem ex altera videlicet 
quod dictus Willelmus dictis abbati et conventui 
invadiavit unam acram terre sue cum pertinenciis 
tenendum et habendum a festo Sancti Marchi 
evangeliste anno domini MCC quinquagesimo octavo 
usque ad finem triginta annorum continue subse- 
quentium pro una marca argenti sibi ab eisdem 
premanibus pacata que scilicet jacet inter has divisas 
et se extendit in longum versus Goylake ex parte 
australi et ex parte boreali versus La Schilue et in 
latum jacet inter terram Henrici Vachan ipsam 
vicinam habens ex parte occidentali ex parte vero 
orientali terram dicti abbatis et conventus. Et 
sciendum quod si dictus Willelmus vel heredes sui 
dictam acram post dictum terminum acquietare 
voluerint ; dictam marcam cum custo melioracionis 
ejusdem terre dictis abbati et conventui restituent. 
Singulis tamen annis per terminum prefatum de 
dicta marca nomine redditus duo denarii remittantur. 


Et dictus Willelmus et heredes sui dictam acram cum 
pertinenciis dictis abbati et conventui per totum dicti 
temporis spacium contra omnes mortales warantiza- 
bunt. Hanc vero convencionem sine dolo ex utraque 
parte tenendam fidei caucione prestita et sigillorum 
suorum impressionibus presens scriptum in modum 
cyrographi confectum et inter se divisum alternatim 
munierunt. Hiis testibus Thoma grammus Philippo 
de corneli Mauricio grammus Thoma russel Waltero 
herebert et aliis. 

There are two copies, the deed and counterpart. 
The abbot's seal is appended ; an abbot standing 
holding a crozier and book, white wax in red, very 
imperfect, the other has the seal of William de 

The Abbey soon got possession of this acre. Har- 
ley Charter 75, B. 47 (C. DCCCCXXXVIII) is a 
grant to the monks of this piece of land, in length 
from Goylake to Seylve, by William Frankelyn, 
which he had of the gift of Thomas Gramus, at a 
yearly rent of id. to the heirs of Thomas. 

Witnesses : Walter Luvel, Maurice de Corneli, and ^ 
others. i| 

T. 143, 289, 39 (C. DCCCCXXIII.) is a grant by ' 
Hugh, son of Roger Gramus, to Margam Abbey of 
two and a half acres of land which Roger Gramus, 
with assent of Thomas his heir, gave to the grantor, 
near the land of Maurice Gramus and Goylake stream, 
one acre of land which Thomas his brother gave him ; 
it begins on the south from the said stream and 
stretches to La Chilue (yet another spelling of the 
curious word), and is five rods wide ; and land at 


Kenefeg, which Roger, son of Roger Gramus, gave 

Walter Luvel, Roger and Thomas Gramus, and 
others are witnesses. 

A small seal bearing three chevronels. 

>5< SIGILL' : HVGONIS : gramvs. 

Thomas, the chaplain of Kenefeg, son of William 
de St. Donats, granted, T. 175, 289, 64 (C. 
DCCCCXCVII) to the Abbey one acre of arable 
land in the fee of Kenefeg, which he bought of 
Thomas Gramus, at La Marie, viz., Marias, between 
the lands held by John Faber, or the blacksmith, and 
John le Hoppare, of the said Thomas, beginning 
from la Hamme, next Goylake, and extending to the 
land which Walter Luvel gave to Ysota, his sister, 
wife of Thomas Gramus, in free marriage, at the 
yearly rent of id. to Thomas Gramus. 

Witnesses : D. Hugh, sheriff of Kenefeg, and others. 
Dated St. Luke's Day, 18 Oct. a.d. 1264. 

La Hamme I am unable to locate ; it is near Goy- 
lake stream. 

Roger, son of Roger Gramus, granted — Harley 
Charter 75, C. 4 (C.DCCCCXIX) — to his brother 
Hugh his land between that of John the priest and that 
which belonged to Adam Alberd, at the yearly rent of 
a pair of white gloves, or Jd., at St. James' fair. 
Premium of 40s. sterling, and a jewel worth i2d. 
to the grantor's wife. 

Witnesses : Richard Flandrensis, constable of 
Kenfeg ; Walter Luvel ; John the priest, who wrote 
the charter, and others. 



The following deed is another example of the 
manner in which the monks obtained property, giving 
an equivalent in food. 

Harley Charter y^, C. 7, T. 28940(0. DCCCCXX) 
is a quit-claim by Roger Gramus to the Abbey of a rent 
of half a silver mark yearly, due of the monks to him, 
paying a yearly recognisance of a pair of white gloves, 
or id. at Easter; and to provide Agnes his wife with 
a prebend ^ for her support, viz., every week seven 
conventual loaves and five gallons of beer of the 
convent ; a crannoc ^ of gruellum (^meal), the same 
amount of beans, and a bushel of salt, yearly at 

Same witnesses as in the other deeds of this time. 
Dated Midsummer Day, a.d. 1245. 

Maurice Gramus, of Corneli Borealis, or North 
Corneli, by Harley Charter 75, C. 16 (C.DCCCCLX), 
confirmed and quit claimed to the monks of Margam 
all the land and possessions which his ancestors gave 
to them. 

Witnesses : John Le Boteler of Donrevyn, or 
Dunraven, co. Glam. ; Maurice de Cornely Australi, 
or South Corneli ; John Peruat ; Walter de Magor, and 
others. jj^ 


We have seen that Maurice Gramus married 

' A prebend, I should say, is the same as a corrody. 

2 Crannock. An Irish measure, which in the time of 
Edward II. contained either eight or sixteen pecks (Dr. E. C. 
Brewer in " Dictionary of Phrase and Fable "). 

Crannoc. — Crynog, an ancient local measure used in the 
district previous to the Uniformity Act, 1826. It wasequal to ten 
bushels *' Hist, of Llangynwyd," by Cadrawd. 


Johanna, daughter of Philip ap David ; the latter now 
mortsfaofes with his son-in-law his four acres of land. 
In the deed Johanna is named Joan. 

H ar ley Charter "]% B. 44 (C.DCCCCLIV); Philip, 
son of David, burgess of Kenefech, mortgages or 
impignorates with Maurice Gramus, his son-in-law, 
genero meo, four acres of land in Pollardeslade, lying 
between the acre of the said Maurice on the north 
part, " which I gave him with Joan my daughter in 
free marriage," and in breadth to William, son of 
Herbert's acre for 10 marks sterling ; with power of 
redemption within ten years at the same price, and a 
pair of gloves only every year if not redeemed within 
the period. 

Witnesses : Walter Luvel and others. Dated on 
St. Ambrose's Day, 4 April, a.d. 1253. Seal a 


The little stream, the Goylake, of which we hear so 
much in the deeds of the Gramus family, is now 
called the Avon fach — little river. I am surprised at 
the loss of names in the neighbourhood. I constantly 
notice brooks and lanes in Margam parish which bear 
no longer any distinctive names, as they did hundreds 
of years ago. 

The Goylake commences in various springs east 
of the turnpike road at Pyle, one or two of them 
being at Stormy, the chief spring being Ffynnon-y- 
Maen. After pursuing a tranquil, independent exist- 
ence, it falls into the Kenfig river at the point where 
the latter, as if reluctant to lose itself in the Severn 
Sea too quickly, turns to the north and appears to be 


hastening to the mountains whence it came. A small 
cottage, with a neighbour, each embattled round with 
green defence, stands just above the junction ; it is 
called Plwerin, which perhaps is Pwll-eirin — the hollow 
of the plum-trees — the hollow just beneath. 

The following grant brings to our notice a curious 
custom connected with the monastic life. 

T. 2013 is a grant by Richard Norrensis, or Norreis, 
to the monks of Margam of one acre of land near the 
stream which divides the land of Pishulle, at Kenfig, 
from the grantor's land. The grantor, his wife and 
sons, are received into the fraternity of the monastery. 

Witnesses : Maurice de Cantelo. Robert Samson, 
Cradoc the physician, Philip, the priest of Lamber- 
nagd. Seal, a wyvern with a human face. 

It seems a little startling to read of a whole family 
being received into a monastic brotherhood ; and it 
is frequently met with in the Margam MSS. ; the 
women of the family also ! 

Immediately after the conclusion of the morning 
Mass at the Abbey the great bell was set ringing 
for the daily Chapter about nine in the morning ; the 
doors were all fastened, so that no one could enter 
the precincts of the monastery during the time of 
the Chapter. All the business of the monastery was 
transacted at this meeting, and all faults corrected. 
Then arrived the time when such matters as the 
issuing of public letters of thanks or congratulations, 
etc., in the name of the community, were sanctioned, 
and the granting of the privilege of the fraternity of 
the house to benefactors or people of distinction. 
When the actual ceremony of conferring this favour, 


which was both lengthy and solemn, was to be per- 
formed, it was at this point that the confratres and 
consorores were introduced into the Chapter. 
After the ceremony the confratres received the 
kiss of peace from all the religious ; the consorores 
kissed the hand of each of the monks. ^ This, then, is 
the meaning of the reception of Richard Norreis, wife 
and family, into the fraternity of the monastery of 

Another instance is that of Thomas Lageles, or 
Lales, from whom Laleston takes its name. Lageles 
and his family were great benefactors of Margam 
Abbey, and when he made his final gift to the monks 
he " placed the charter on the altar, which he kissed 
in the presence of the convent, who received him as 
a brother and partaker of all its goods until the end." 

The Palmer family now come upon the scene, and 
the following deeds areof the date of a.d. 1266, 1267. 

T. 183 (C. MVII) is a grant by Thomas, son of 
Robert Raul, to Philip, son of Robert Palmer, or le 
Paumer, of Kenefec, of one acre of arable land in the 
manor of Kenefec, on the south part of Goielake, along 
from Goielake to the land that belonged to William 
Cole, having on the east land of Cecilia, daughter of 
Alexander, and on the west that of William, son of 
Herebert, for due service to the lords of Kenefec, for 
25s. paid, m gersuma, beforehand. (See page 87.) 

Witnesses : Symon Tinctor, William de Pola, Roger 
Galun, burgesses of Tetteburi,^ and others. 

' From " Monastic Life," by Abbot Gasquet. 
^ Tetbury is a market town in Gloucestershire, ten miles 
south-west of Cirencester. 


The business of these burgesses so far from home is 
not stated ; probably they were either buying or selHng, 
perhaps both. Symon Tinctor is Symon the dyer. 

Philip, son of Robert Palmer, soon after gave his 
acre of land, which he bought from Thomas Raul in 
the preceding deed, to Margam Abbey. T. 289, 58 
(CM 1 1) is the deed. Under seal of Thomas Gramus, 
as Philip has no seal. 

T. 181 (C.MIV) is an impignoration or mortgage 
by the said Philip Palmer, and Amabilia his wife, to 
the Abbey, of three and a half acres of land in the 
manor of Kenefeg, for ten marks paid beforehand viz., 
all the land which Cecilia, daughter of Alexander, 
gave them in free marriage, on the east of the town of 
Kenefeg in Portlond, near the new foss, having on all 
sides the monks' land ; redeemable within thirty years, 
but the monks are to have the croppings for the 
whole term, as they have undertaken to find the said 
Philip and his wife food and support for their lives. 
All Saints' Day, 1266. 

T. 182 (CM VI) is a grant by the same Philip, and 
Amabilia his wife, to the Abbey of the above three 
and a half acres of arable land at Portlond, in the fee of 
Kenefeg, which Cecilia, daughter of Alexander, gave 
them in free marriage. Under seal of William Fran- % . 
keleyn, because they have no seals. Witnesses : the t- 
Chaplain of Kenefeg ; William, son of Alexander, and % 
others. Feast of SS. Philip and James, a.d. 1267. ^k 

Here we have another instance of land being first 'v/ 
mortgaged to the monks and afterwards made over | 
to them. 

There is another grant by the same persons of the 


same land to the Abbey under seal of David Wasmeir, 
as they have no seal, T. 154 (C. MV). 

The same Philip and his wife granted a messuage 
to the Abbey in the town. This deed is referred to in 
the article on the town. 

Portlond, or Portland, is the land east of St. Mary 
Magdelene's Chapel, and the lands along the Kenfig. 
The people call it Porklond, as if it were an affecta- 
tion to name a thing correctly. Porth is a gate or a 
door, also a port or haven, but it does not in this case 
refer to a port or haven. We have a similar word in 
Hafod-y-Porth. A Bull of Alexander IV. a.d. 1261, 
under Margam, mentions Hauoto portarii — Hafod of 
the gate-keeper. I believe this is an error of the 
scribe, who was an Italian in the Papal Chancery, and 
stumbled over the unusual words. The narrow neck 
at the commencement of the Dyffryn valley near the 
mill being the porth or gate, for once the neck is 
passed the valley opens out. In like manner the 
porth or gorge at Llanfihangel has given the land 
to the east of it the name Portland — land of the 
gate or opening. The path leading from Llan- 
fihangel mill to Pyle Church passes a pistle called 
Pystyll-y-Portland, much resorted to by persons 
having limbs which are healing after fractures, for 
its strengthening qualities. The Newditch of 
Thomas Le Despenser's charter and the new foss of 
the mortgage T. 181 by Philip Palmer is the leat 
conveying water to Llanfihangel mill. 

Abbot Thomas demised by T. 192 (C. MLXXX) to 
John le Yonge, burgess of Kenefeg, for his life, land 
formerly belonging to the office of the master of the 


works of our New Church, viz., three acres of arable 
land lying between the land of John Peruat and that 
of Robert de Cantelou, on the road between Kenefeg 
and Cardiff, towards Corneli ; and between the road 
near Dame Alice grove and the land of Walter Luvel. 
Rent 2s. and los. consideration money. Margam, 
Sunday, 25 July, a.d. 1307. 

" Our New Church " refers probably to the early 
English part of Margam Abbey Church. Dame 
Alice grove I am unable to locate ; probably the name 
is lost in obscurity. 

T. 2805. This is a mortgage by the above-named 
John Le Yonge of Kenefeg to Thomas le Tylar of 
Kenefeg of two acres of arable land of his free tene- 
ment in the lordship of Kenefeg in Passeleuisfelde for 
4 marks and 8d. One acre lies in length between the 
way from Kenefeg towards (Cornelidon ?) on the S. 
and the way from Kenefeg towards Nothasse the N. 
(if this is Nottage it should be S.), and in length be- 
tween the land of Walter Thomelyn on the W. and 
that of Elena le Yongfe on the E. ; the other acre 
lies in length between the land of John Marzhog on 
the E., and the way from Kenefeg to Northasse on 
the W., and in breadth between the land of John 
Norris on the S. and that of Thomas Courog on the 
N., for four years from Michaelmas, a.d. 1327, and so 
by terms of four years until payment of the said 
4 marks 8d. be made ; the mortgagee to have pre- 
emption if the land be sold. Witnesses : Henry 
Colyn and others. 

Dated Kenefeg, Sunday after Feast of S. Peter in 
Cathedra, 22 Feb., 1327 for 1328. 


T. 3052. This is a confirmation by William de 
Cornely, son and heir of Roger de Cornely, to the 
monks of St. Mary's Abbey of Neth, of two acres of 
arable land in the fee of Cornely which his said father 
gave them for food and clothing, by the boundaries 
according to his father's charter. He also grants 
them a third acre and release of 3d. yearly rent due 
for the above two acres, which lie between the lands 
of John Adam and William Kyng, and from the 
land called Betynges on the north to W. Kyng's 
land on the south, because they (the monks) treated 
his father honourably in food and clothing as long as 
he lived. He is to pay 10 marks if he cannot warrant 
the three acres. Witnesses : John de Creppynge, 
sheriff, Maurice de Cornely and others. Whitsunday, 
17 May, A.D. 1293. Here we see the Abbot of Neath 
helping a man in his need and receiving gifts of land 
in return. 

T. 1969 is a grant by Zewan ab Hagarath ; Knaytho, 
Mayhoc, David, Gwronu, Ithenard, and Wastmer, 
sons of Zewan ; Wurgan, Meuroch, Reis and Madoch, 
sons of W^urgan Du ; and Richard Gethin, to William 
Alexander, of thirteen acres of arable land in Kenefeg 
Manor, at Balles, lying on the south, between the land 
of the Abbot and Convent of Margam, called Tangi- 
stelonde, and the common pasture called Duna de 
Cornely on the east of the land of Philip de Corneli 
called the croft of Yltuit, on the west of Tancristelonde, 
to be held of the chief Lord of Kenefeg at a yearly 
rent of I9^d. — premium paid, lOOs. 

Sureties. — Griffin, Meuroch, Reis Voil, sons of 
Res Coiz ; William and Madoc, sons of Yeruard ab 


Espus ; Madoc Vachan, Traherne ab Reis, Madoc 
ab Ithenard, Leulin ab Griffith, Lewelin ab 

Witnesses. — William Scurlag, constable of Lan- 
gunith, Walter Luvel and others. 

Endorsed : Charter of the Welshmen in the land 
of Ballis exchanged with William Alexander. Late 
twelfth century. 

This land lies south of Ty Tanglwys (Tangiste- 
londe) at Old Ballas, between Ty Tanglwys and 
Cornell Down. 

In the " Annales de Theokesberia " is the entry, 
A.D. 1227. " Gilbertus Comes Glocestrie invenit 
minera argenti in Wallis, ferri et plumbi ; " " Gilbert 
Earl of Gloucester discovered in Wales minerals of 
silver iron and lead." 

This was probably at South Cornell, for we have 
interesting information in some of the Margam MSS. 
which shows early searching for minerals in Kenfig 
manor. Near Ty Coch, on the east side of the road 
leadinor from Newton Nottaore to South Cornell, are 
some old ironstone workings. It is known that 
lead exists in the neighbourhood, and silver accom- ^ 
panies lead ore. :fl| 

Philip son of William de Comely grants, T. 289, 43 T 
(C. DCCCCLXXVIII), with assent of Amabilia his 
wife, to Margam Abbey the minerals iron and lead 
on the east side of the highroad which leads from the 
new town (Newton Nottage), to the town of Walter 
Luvel, called Comely, with power to supplement 
deficiencies by searching for minerals on all his 
land and a right of way for his two-wheel and four- 


wheel carts. Rent a pair of gloves, or id. so long 
as the mineral holds out ; 20s. beforehand. 

Walter Luvel, with assent of Angarat his wife, 
grants by T. 289,47 (C DCCCCLVI) to the monks 
all manner of iron and lead mineral throughout his 
land wherever it may be found, at an annual rent, 
as long as they use the same, of a coulter and a 
ploughshare for his plough yearly at Easter, with 
free ingress and egress with two-wheel and four- 
wheel carts when required. The monks gave 
Luvel for this grant two quarters of wheat on the 
Feast of St. Mary Magdalene. 22 July, a.d. 1253. 

Marias Farm is pleasantly situated on the south side 
of the crorg-e througrh which the Kenfio- river runs. In 
the bottom of the gorge is Llanfihangel Mill, nearly 
opposite Marias, and nearly half a mile to the south- 
east, is The Hall already referred to. 

The house is comparatively modern, but the out- 
buildings are old, a doorway into the kitchen, some 
built up windows, and a doorway into the malthouse 
are parts of the ancient building of, I should say, 
early Tudor architecture. At the pine-end of the 
malthouse a chimney supported on three corbels 
also seems of early date. This chimney was probably 
added when the building was adapted for use as 
a malthouse for drying malt. 

Marias is derived from marl, the Welsh for marl, 
and glas, las, green. It is geologically situated on 
the green Keuper marl. 

William de Marie, whom I now introduce to you, 
has a high-sounding name, and we would think his 
ancestors came over with the Conqueror ; not so : he 


took his name from the oranofe of Marias, and 
besides, his was too mean a nature to have had 
knightly ancestors '*sans peur et sans reproche," as 
the sequel will show. 

He says by special favour of those religious men, 
the Abbot and Convent of Margam, he was allowed 
to pasture his oxen, cows, and other animals upon 
their lands in the grange of S. Michael, Llan- 
fihangel, which pasturage out of levity of mind 
he had claimed as if he had a right therein. He 
is, however, now moved by the spirit of truth and 
quit-claims to the Abbey for himself, his heirs and 
assigns, all right to the pasture. This deed is 
T. 277 (C. MCLXVIH). He appends his seal, and 
as it is not well known to many, John Luvel's seal 
is also appended. Dated at Margam, Feast of John 
Baptist, A.D. 1344. 

Gratitude was clearly not one of William de 
Marie's virtues ; evidently he coveted the Abbot's 
fat pastures. His cattle grew so sleek on those 
pleasant hills around the sleepy hollow in which lies 
Llanfihangel Grange that he thought he would claim 

John Luvel's arms on the seal are : a saltire below 
four pheons. Between two wyverns 


St. Michael's Grange is in Margam parish but in 
the borough of Kenfig, north-east of Marias (which is 
in Pyle parish) nearly eight hundred yards, so that the 
pastures around Llanfihangel Grange were in close 
proximity to Marie's own lands. 


I do not know why the farm or grange is called St. 
Michael's ; ^ it may be that a chapel dedicated to St. 
Michael was formerly in existence at the grange for 
the use of the conversi, or lay brethren who did the 
farm work, and also for those working the mill close 
by. It was invariably the case that chapels were 
attached to the isolated granges for the use of the 
conversi. Thus at Hafod Farm there was a chapel 
only taken down within the last forty years ; at 
Penhydd ; Cwrt Farm, or the " grangia de Melis," 
as it is called in one of the MSS., near Port Talbot 
Station, had the chapel of St. Thomas ; Eglwys- 
nunydd ; Hafod heulog and other farms had jointly 
the chapel of Trisaint (Trissent in some deeds) ; 
Craigwyllt Farm ; the grange of the Hermitage of 
Theodoric — all these had their small chapels. 

At St. Michael's is an enormous barn 109 feet in 
length, 31 feet in width, and 18 feet 6 inches in 
height to the eaves. At first sight the great build- 
ing looks like a church. In Abbey times it was 
a tithe-barn. Inside it is plastered to the ceiling; the 
openings for air and light are widely splayed inwards 
with quarella stone work dressed to the splay, similar 
to those in the centre dormer window of the gfrangfe of 
Theodoric's Hermitage. ^ Two great doorways open 
opposite each other in the centre of the building ; 

' The ancient Abbey of St. Michael has never been located ; 
it is just possible it may have been where the grange now 
stands. In the " Liber Landavensis " is mentioned " Marchi 
filius catgen, abbas ecclesiae sancti Micaelis." 

^ See plans of building and details in " The Hermitage of 
Theodoric and Site of Pendar." T. Gray, Arch. Camb., April, 


these are spurred at each side. The walls are all 
spurred at the base. 

The barn was roofed with tilestones, but the roof 
recently fell in, the weight and the rotting of the 
timber-work probably causing the collapse. 

The farmhouse has evidently been reconstructed on 
the older building, the walls showing the spurring as 
in the case of the barn. The upper storey is sup- 
ported on massive oak beams. Each window has a 
label, and the jambs and mullions are stone. The 
reconstructed building appears to be a little before 
A.D. 1600. 

I quote here from my notes on the Granges of 
Margam Abbey. " The grange of St. Michael stands 
at a level of 50 feet above the sea, and nearly all 
round it are hills of 100 feet high, which nestle close 
about it ; so it is no wonder the river which runs close 
to the house had difficulty in finding its way safe to 
sea and turns and twists so. As I said before, any 
one standing and looking at the Kenfig (Cenffig it 
should be, as "k" was never born in Wales), and 
knowing on which hand lay the Severn Sea, would 
think the river had turned from its saltness, and was 
going again towards the hills whence it had but just 

A quarter of a mile south from the grange stood 
a fulling-mill — a Pandy — on the river edge. It was 
demolished on the construction of the Great Western 
Railway. This fulling-mill is mentioned in a list of 
the Margam Abbey possessions set out by the Abbot 
dated Thursday after the Octave of Easter, a.d. 1326. 

As I have said, the conversi, or lay brethren, 


worked the Abbey farms, and we have an interest- 
ing reference to them in the proceedings at the 
Glamorgan County Court, before Gilbert de Elles- 
feld, Sheriff of Glamorgan, T. 229 (C. MCLXXXII), 
whereat Brother John . . . was indicted for robbing 
David de Gower of I5d. at the Borwes — the burrows 
or sand dunes — and Brother Meuric of St. Michael's 
Grange was indicted for giving money and food to 
John ap Griffith and Rees ap Griffith, felons and 
outlaws. But the accused say they are brethren and 
conversi of the Abbey of Margam, and therefore 
they ought to appear before their own ordinaries (the 
Bishop or the Abbot). It is asked of them if they 
are clerks ordained, and if they know how to read, 
and a book is given to them for that proof, but they 
declare themselves " professed religious " {i.e. monks), 
and so not bound to answer. Thereupon came Master 
David ap Rees, clerk, by virtue of the Bishop of 
Llandaffs commission to him, and caused the 
accused to be delivered to him for trial in an 
Ecclesiastical Court. The Sheriff and Master 
David disputed whether the delinquents were "pro- 
fessed," and so entitled to their privilege of clergy. 
Eventually the Sheriff admitted the plea, and made 
inquest whether they were guilty or not so as to 
deliver them up to Master David. 

They were tried, found not guilty, and released. 
Cardiff, 26 May, a.d. 1358. 

The question whether for grave offences the clergy 
could be tried by the King's judges was one which 
had long raised bitter feelings on the one side and 
the other. In 1512 the Parliament passed a law con- 


fining the immunity of the clergy to those in sacred 

The Abbot of Winchcombe, in a sermon at St. 
Paul's, argued that all clerks were in Holy Orders 
and consequently not amenable to secular tribunals.' 

Touching courts, we find Richard de Clare, sixth 
Earl of Gloucester and lord of Glamorgan, son of 
Gilbert de Clare, the fifth earl and first of the 
Clares, a.d. 1227, allowed the monks to have a court 
in the fee of Kenefeg. 

T. 170 b. (C. DCCCLVII) is a General Confirma- 
tion by Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and 
Hertford, to Margam Abbey of the lands and 
privileges granted by his predecessors, viz., the 
lands in the fee of Kenefeg, New Castle, the land || 
of Peytevin, with additional grants ; and that the 
monks are to have a court of all pleas and forfeits 
in their lands but not of felony. And in felonies, the 
land and chattels of the felons condemned to death 
which may be due to the Earl are granted to the 

This deed explains the reason for the case above 
being taken to the Glamorgan County Court at 

There was also the court called " The hundred 
court," and to this every man was to resort in the 
first instance for justice, apparently in all matters. 
Hundreds were granted by the Crown as lordships. 
It was the court of the lord of the territory. The 
free heads of families were the justices or members 
of the court. Twice a year all freemen, whether 
' " Eve of the Reformation," by Abbot Gasquet. 


heart kfasi — that is, having hearths or (as Bracton 
puts it) houses and land of their own — or folgarii, 
followers or dependents of a lord, were to be 
assembled in their hundred. ^ 

In the Margam MSS. is a late twelfth century- 
deed which gives the names of the justices forming 
the Earl's Welsh hundred (court) of Margam. 

T. 1985 is a deed whereby Gugan Bodewen ; Credic 
Correwen ; Joaf, son of Rig', the sons of Reul and 
their relatives, forming the Earl's Welsh hundred of 
Margam, abjure the lands of Margam Abbey, swear 
to keep the peace, to prosecute those who injure the 
Abbey, and make restitution for damages done within 
fifteen days. 

Witnesses : Helyas the sheriff's chaplain, Walter 
the porter, Roger the cellarer, monks ; Jordan and 
Meiler, conversi ; Walter Luvel, William de Cogahan, 
Thomas de Cornell, Alfred, Provost of Neth. Under 
seal of Robert, son of Gregory, Sheriff of Cardiff. 

It is a curious document, and it would seem to 
indicate that the members of the court were not 
blameless in some respects. They apparently had 
claimed part of the Abbey lands, and had refrained 
from prosecuting those who had injured the Abbey. 

T. 2798 is a grant by Amabilia, daughter of 
Walter Molendinarius, or the miller, of Kenfig to John 
Peruat and Alice his wife, of an acre of land in 
the field called Mullemannislond, viz., Mill-man's- 
land, between the land of Walter de Magor and 
that of the grantor, reaching from the millpond to 

^ " The Ancient Laws of Wales," in substance. Herbert 



the meadow of Thomas Faber, or the smith, rent 
id. yearly and 20s. beforehand. 

Witnesses : David Beneyt, Walter Rudoc, and 
others. Early fourteenth century. Alice Peruat of 
the preceding deed, relict of John Peruat of Kene- 
i^g, quit-claimed to the Abbey by T. 198 (C. MCVII) 
the acre of the above deed given her by Amabilia the 
miller's daughter in Mullemannislond, between the 
land of Thomas Tynkare on the east, the land of 
Thomas Poulyn on the west, and from the mill-pond, 
stagno molendini, in length to the meadow of Henry 
Vot. Under the common seal of the burgesses of 
Kenefeg because her seal is not known. Witnesses : 
John Luvel and others. The adjoining owners seem 
to have changed. 

It is curious that " u " is constantly used for " i " in 
the ancient MSS. — hulle for hill, mulle for mill, le 
Mullestrate for Mill Street, Cardiff. 

T. 289. 18 (C. DCCLXXXVII).— By this deed 
Diurec, son of John son of Joaf, assigned to the 
Abbey his twelve acres of arable and two of 
meadow land between Cornell and St. Michael's 
Grange. Rent i8d., payable at Kenefeg as gavel.' 
Diurec was one of the Du family. 

' In pre-Domesday times the general name for the oblation 
or money payment — now constituting the entire render, but 
then only a subordinate part — was gafol, gavol, or land gable ; 
land at farm was gafoUand ; freehold was ungafoled — land not 
subject to rent. The gabel, about id. per acre, was only a part 
of the price paid for the use of the land, the rest being worked 
out by the tenants ; when the work was light or not constant 
the tenants were bound in an increased oblation, which was 
distinguished as "mail." — "The Manor," N. J. Hone. 


T. 189 (C MXXXIV) is a mortgage for eighty 
years from a.d. 1283 by Helias, son of Philip 
Alexander, and Amabilia his wife, to Margam 
Abbey, of three acres of land, for 60s., of which 
they were in most urgent need. Two acres lie 
between Goylake and the road from Kenefeg to 
the common moor, adjacent to the land of Maurice 
Gramus ; the third acre is held of the Hospitallers, 
adjoining that of John Loue, and reaching from the 
Cardiff road to the road which leads from Lipthete 
towards Cornely. There are charges of 2d. yearly 
to Maurice Gramus and ijd. to the Hospitallers. 

Witnesses : Adam the Baker, John Peruat, and 

This deed of Helias, son of Philip Alexander, intro- 
duces a new name, Lipthete, and I doubt if it can 
be located to-day ; it also shows that the Knights 
Hospitallers owned land at Kenfig. 

Harley Charter 75, C. 17, is a mortgage for forty 
years by Roger le Hastare of Kenefeg to the Abbot 
and Convent of Margam, with assent of his wife 
Alice, of two acres of his land lying between that 
of Maurice Gramus and the Abbey's land on the 
east and in length from Goylake to the high road 
from Kenefeg to the moor, which land he acquired 
with his wife ; for 50s. sterling, charged with a 
payment of 2d. to Maurice Gramus and 6d. to the 
said Roger yearly. 

Witnesses : Hugh, vicar of Kenefeg ; Robert, his 
presbyter, Lewelin the tailor, and others. Dated 
Sunday in the Octave of Epiphany, 12 Jan., 
A.D. 1276. 


Abbot Thomas (who came from Portskewit) leased 
by Harley Charter 75, A. 41, on St. Martin's Day, 
II Nov., A.D. 1267, to Michael Tusard, of Kenefeg, 
for twenty years, two-thirds of a messuage, with 
orchard and croft, and an acre of land, near the 
new ditch on the south adjacent to the land of 
Philip Coh, the messuage being situate between 
that of William Sturie and John Asceline's ; rent 
yearly 2s. and los. premium. 

Witnesses : W. Frankelein, Adam Harding, and 

By T. 289, 53 (C. DCCCLX), Alice daughter of 
Alexander grants to the Abbey land which Cecilia 
her mother gave her lying on the south of Goylake 
towards the land of William Cole and having on the 
east the land of William Albus and on the west that 
of Robert Roul. 

Seal of Maurice Gramus, as the grantor has no seal. 

A new name occurs among the witnesses — William 
Le Bunz. 

T. 29 (C. DCCCLIX), is a grant by Alice relict 
of Geoffrey, son of Seware, with assent of Alice her 
daughter, of her house in Kenefeg between the houses 
of William Faber and William Bunz. Rent i2d. to 
the Earl (of Gloucester). Witnesses : Father Walter 
Hubolt, William de Kardif, William de Chipstaple, 
monks of Margam, and others. 

T. 289, 3 (C. DCXCII), a grant by William 
Gillemichel to Margam Abbey of eight acres of his 
land in Kenefec adjacent to the boundaries of the 
land of Mehi ^ on the east near the highroad from 

^ Deumay. 


Stormy to Kenfig. Among the witnesses are William 
the cellarer and William the porter of Margam ; 
Angarat (Angharad, I presume) wife of William 
and Weirvill her daughter. 

T. 289, 5 (C. DCXCIII), is a grant by Walaueth, 
one of the sons of William Gillemichel, to the Abbey 
of all the land which was his father's in the arable part 
of Kenefeg, and should any service for the Earl's 
kitchen or anything else be required from this land, 
it is to be paid for out of the grantor's land at 

This is followed by a quitclaim, T. 58 (C. DCXCV), 
by Ketherech and Ivor, the other sons of William 
Gillemichel, to Margam Abbey of their right in the 

The following deed gives us another name which is 
probably unknown to-day — Flokeslade. 

T. 395 (C. MCXXXIII) is a grant by Alicia 
Terri, widow of Richard de Ewyas, burgess of 
Kenefeg, to John Tudor, burgess, of two acres of 
land near Flokeslade, between the town of Kenefeg 
and South Cornell, at the yearly rent of ^d. and 
6 marks beforehand. The mark is 6s. 8d. 

Witnesses : Nicholas de Sherlake, vicar of Kene- 
feg ; Philip Stiward, Thomas Kocz, Thomas Bounce 
(perhaps for Le Bunz), Henry Vote, burgesses. 
Kenefeg, 5 May, a.d. 1329. 

^ Gelli-lenwr, the learned man's grove. 



WE could not spend so much time at Kenfig 
without seeing Sker ; and besides, Sker, with 
North and South CorneH as sub-manors, were under 
the jurisdiction of the lordship of Kenfig. Sker is 
a corruption of Welsh ysgyr,^ a sharp, stony pro- 
jection of rocks, on the shore. 

Sker rejoices in being a parish in itself, a farm 
of 360I acres, having a narrow strip of Pyle parish 
between it and Kenfig parish. On this strip, just 
outside the boundary of Sker parish, stands a large 
house and its outbuildings. 

You seem in the sand-dunes to be isolated from 
humanity, far " from the madding crowd " ; the hil- 
locks seem endless, sand everywhere ; it is utterly 
lonely, an old-world air about it ; brightened, 
it is true, here and there by patches of bloom, 
and with life in the scuttling rabbit and whir of 

' Mr. Isaac Craigfryn Hughes gives in the " Merch o' Seer," 
ysgair, a sudden rise in the land from the flat. 




' From the valley — ' Bare downs only,' 
Said I, in my haste to pass, 
Till I climbed, and, lying lonely, 
Found soft moss and flowering grass. 

So, across bleak sand-dunes riding, 
Past the net-hung fisher-cots. 
Found I, 'neath the rough bents hiding. 
Blue, unguessed forget-me-nots. 

Striving now to pierce the human 
Discord, for the hidden tunes, 
I can meet no man or woman, 
But I mind the downs and dunes." ^ 

Three-quarters of a mile south from the pool you 
reach the edge of the dunes, and you stand and 
wonder at the sight of a great, gloomy house so much 
out of place just on the edge of the great waste of 
sand, and within six hundred yards of the sea-shore, 
where the jagged rocks run out to sea full of sharp, 
pointed fangs like the quills of the fretful porcupine. 
When you come upon the house it fills you with 
wonder why it is there ; it is so sad and lonely and 
grey, steeped in silence and melancholy. 

It stands on down-like land which gently slopes 
towards the sea, all alone. The sand-hills creep 
close up to it on the north side, stopped, as it were, 
in full career, as if hesitating to destroy it.^ The 
only sounds it hears, apart from the birds in summer, 
are the thunders of the great Atlantic waves as they 

^ " Songs from the Downs," H. Lulham (Kegan Paul.) 
2 The sand-drift stopped at this point by reason of the shore 
being rocky. 


surge in and, striking the rocks, leap high in the 
air, masses of tortured foam. 

Sker House was built by the Cistercian monks — 
" the sour Puritans of the cloister," of Neath Abbey, 
and so you can understand why they chose this 
lonesome spot : it was in accord with their feelings. 
I have no doubt the monks came often here to 
regain their health, for although lonely, it is most 
healthy. Here the winds comes off the sea, pure and 
free from taint of land, and thus it is most bracing. 

The great house, with many gables, chimneys, 
and windows, looks the more gaunt in that it has 
no friendly trees around or near it. There it stands 
alone, and it gives you the idea that you had 
dreamed too fast, you are really still in mediaeval 
times, your dream of progress a myth, and you 
look to see the white-robed Cistercian monks pass 
in and out of the house. 

Parts of the house are of pre- Reformation times, 
but some parts are not older than the time of 
Charles H. The southern part of the house is of 
early date, before the sixteenth century ; as will be 
seen in the illustrations the windows have foliage, 
in the spandrils of the lights under the label ; the 
windows in the pine-end are ancient. It seems 
to me that the front portion, extending from the 
south and old part, was reconstructed, leaving the 
southern part and much of the back part as they 
existed in the time when the house belonged to 
Neath Abbey. The pine-end of the Ty-yr-ychen, or 
Oxens' house, is all that remains of that building of 
pre- Reformation days. 

r: Is 


One summer's day I saw in the garden a piece 
of wood from a proud ship : proud, for the legend 
on the reHc ran, " Nunquam non paratus " ( " Never 
unprepared)." One day it was unprepared. After it 
had run on to the sharp fangs of Sker rocks the 
little plank was all that remained with its message 
of irony. 

Leland tells us "There is a Manor caullid Sker 
a 2 miles from the shore where dwellith one 
Richard Loug-hor a grentilman." ^ 

Just below Sker Grange are the rocks and little 
bay, Pwll Dafan, into which came the Maid of Sker 
while Davy Llewelyn was there fishing. Davy's de- 
scription of the occurrence is worth repeating : " Now 
as the rising sea came sliding over the coronet of 
rocks, as well as through the main entrance — for even 
the brim of the pool is covered at high water — I 
beheld a glorious sight, stored in my remembrance 
of the southern regions but not often seen at home. 
The day had been hot and brilliant, with a light air 
from the south ; and at sunset a haze arose and hung 
as if it were an awning over the tranquil sea. First, 
a gauze of golden colour as the western light came 
through, and then a tissue shot with red, and now a 
veil of silvery softness, as the summer moon grew 

" Then the quiet waves began — as their plaited lines 
rolled onwards into hills of whiteness — in the very 

^ John Leland's distances are erratic and his miles elastic. 
Here he has made less than half a mile into two miles. But 

1 have seen it suggested that the reading may have been " a 

2 miles further on the shore." 


curl and fall to glisten with a flitting light. Presently, 
as each puny breaker overshone the one in front, not 
the crest and comb alone, but the slope behind it, and 
the crossing flaws inshore, gleamed into hovering radi- 
ance and soft flashes vanishing ; till, in the deepening 
of the dusk, each advancing crest was sparkling with 
a mane of fire, every breaking wavelet like a shaken 
seam of gold. Thence the shower of beads and 
lustres lapsed into a sliding tier, moving up the sands 
with light, or among the pebbles breaking into a 
cataract of gems. ... As I gazed at all this beauty, 
trying not to go astray with wonder and with weari- 
ness, there in the gateway of black rock, with the 
offing dark behind her, and the glittering waves upon 
their golden shoulders bearing her — sudden as an 
apparition came a smoothly-gliding boat. ... By 
the clear moonlight I saw a wee maiden, all in white, 
having neither cloak nor shawl, nor any other soft 
appliance to protect or comfort her, but lying with her 
little back upon the aftmost planking, with one arm 
bent (as I have said before), and the other drooping 
at her side, as if the baby-hand had been at work to 
ease her crying ; and then when tears were tired out, 
had dropped in sleep or numb despair." ^ 

T. T^o (C. DCXX) sets forth the terms of a settle- 
ment between the Abbot of Neath and the Abbot of 
Marram concerning a hundred acres of land at the 
Grange of Skerra, which the monks of Margam had 
sold to the monks of Neath, but could not guarantee 
it. Therefore the Abbot of Margam was to return 
the purchase money, 12 silver marks. But if the 
' " The Maid of Sker," R D. Blackmore. 



abbot could get possession and deliver it to Neath, 
that abbey was to pay 20 marks instead of 12. If 
the Abbot of Margam failed to get possession and had 
to accept an exchange from the Earl of Gloucester, 
he is to pay to Neath Abbey 12 marks and 5 added 

Witnesses : Dom Joill(enus) ^ Abbot of Savigny, 
and Dom Walter Abbot of Combermere, with assent 
of the two convents of Neath and Margam. 

I have previously told you that Richard de Cardiff 
made claim to Sker and that I would explain this. 
The Earl had given Richard de Cardiff extensive grants 
of land at Newton (see page 132), and probably he 
thought Sker was included, and I believe he had reason 
to think so, as Sker lies within the boundaries described 
and is not mentioned as excluded ; but he was wrong. 
In T. 544, 1 7 (C. MCCCCI 1 1) the Earl William notifies 
to his Sheriff of Cardiff as to Blakescerra which is 
in dispute between Margam Abbey and Richard de 
Kardiff. The Earl states that he had given the 
land in question to Margam in exchange for their 
land of Novus-Burgus (Cardiff) long before the said 
Richard had any land in Wales from the said Earl, 
therefore he warrants it to the Abbey. Witnesses : 
Hawisia, the Countess of Gloucester ; Master Samson ; 
David, the chaplain. Mr. Clark says that Novus- 
Burgus is Newton, but Dr. Birch prefers to place it 
in Cardiff, and I think he is right. 

Now we come to the end of the dispute. 

Harley Charter 75, A. 15 (C. XXXIII), is a notifi- 

^ Joslenus, " Gallia Christiana," vol. xi. p. 546. He occurs 
A.D. 1173 and 1178. 


cation by Bishop Nicholas of the canonical termination 
of the suit between the Abbot of Margam and Richard 
de Kardiff concerning Blakescerre. The abbot had 
proved that he held it upwards of ten years before 
Richard owned any land in that district. Judgment 
was given for the abbot, and he conveyed the property 
to the Abbot of Neath. 

The grange was endowed by Thomas de Sanford 
with a quittance of 2S. per annum on fifty acres of 
land and one and a half acre upon^ the sea at 
Blakesker. The boundary of Earl William's grant 
to Richard de Kardiff is somewhat difficult to follow 
in parts. 

A deed of lease of Sker in possession of the Rev. 
Henry Hay Knight, B.D., Rector of Neath in 1845, 
was printed by Francis in his " Neath and its Abbey." 
It was granted by Leysan Thomas, the last Abbot of 
Neath, shortly before the Dissolution, to Gwenllyan 
Turberville, widow of Watcyn Loyghor, and Richard 
Loghor, her son, 8 April, 1536. You will remember 
further back John Leland mentions the Manor place 
of Sker, and says Richard Loughor, a gentleman, lived 
there. Leland was there two or three years after 
the date of the lease. The lease is an interesting 
document, and as it was granted before the dis- 
solution of the monasteries I give it in full. 

"This indenture made the viijt day off Aprill the 
xxijt years of the reigne off o'r sov'ain Lord Kyng 
Henrye the VHjt, betwyne Lyson Thomas, Abbot of 
Nethe and the Co' vent of the same place off the one 
p'te and Gwenllyan Turbervill, wydoe, late wyffe of 
^ Upon the sea; i.t'., abutting on the sea. 


Watkyn Loyghor and Richard Loyghor sone and 
heyre apparant of the sayde Gwenllyan of that other 
p'tye WYTNESsiTHE that the same Abbot and Co'vent 
wt one assent and consent, hathe dymysyd, grauntyd, 
and to ferm lettyd and by this p'sent' dymysithe, 
grauntithe and to ferm lettyth to the sayde Gwenllyan 
and Richard, the Grange or Man' off Skarre wt his 
singuler apportenaunce set and beyng in the Countie 
off Glamorga' wt all incle'rs lands, ten'ts, medows, 
lesus, and pasturis, comyns, and wast land, wt all 
other comodytes and profytts belonging or p'teyning 
to the same grange or man' of Skarre. Also the 
sayde Abbot and Co'vent dymysyth, grauntythe and 
by this p'sents to ferm lettyth to the sayde Gwenllyan 
and Richard iiij closys wt ther p'tynences sett and 
lyyng et the sayde grange or man' off Skarre, whereoff 
one close is callyd the Abbots close, a nother callyd 
the new P'kes, the thyrd called the Barbor is land, and 
the fowrthe close callyd John Lloyd is close, to have 
and to hold the sayde grange or man' off Skarre and 
iiij closis wt, all other the p'miss wt, ther p'tynences 
to the saide Gwenllyan and Richard ther ex'ers and 
assignis from the fest off the Ann'cyac'n off o'r Lady 
last past untyll the full end and term of iiij'''^ xix 
years^ then next folowing, and fully to be completyd, 
yelding and paying yerely therefore to the sayde 
Abbot and Co'vent and to their successors vij marks 
sterling at the fest off All the Saynts wt. vs. yerely 
to the Lord off Glamorgan, and yelding and paying 
yerely for the saide iiij Closis xxxjs. viijd. at the fest 
of All saynts In lykewyse wt. xxs. in name off a 
' Four score and nineteen, or ninety-nine years. 


heryot after ev'y decesse, and at the fest of the 
Natyvyte off o'r Lord one cople of pure and clene 
capons yerely, and yff hit hapen the saide rent of vlj 
marks or xxxjs. viijd. and one cople of capons or any 
p'cell therof, to be unpayde by xv days after any of the 
sayde fests in whiche hit ow't to be payde and of no 
suffyant suretys there to be found, that then hit shalbe 
lawfull unto the sayde Abbot and Co'vent and ther 
successors to reenter into the sayde grange off Skarre 
and man' wt' other the p'miss' as in ther pristynat 
estate, this Indenture notwithstanding, also the sayde 
Gwenllyan and Richarde, the executors and assignis, 
shall repare, uphold, and maynteyn the sayde grange 
or man' wt. other the p'miss' in all things, and at the 
end of the sayde term to leve and delyv' it sufficialy 
reparid, and wee the sayde Abbot and Co'vent and o'r 
successors the sayde grange or man' off Skarr and 
other p'miss' to the sayde Gwenllya' and Richard, 
ther executors and assignis during the sayde term 
in man' and forme aforesaid shall warant and defend 
by this o'r p'sents In Wyttness hereoff to thes pre- 
sent Indenturis the p'ties abovesayd interchangeable 
have set ther seale, yeven the day and yere above 

In the " Survey and Presentment " of 1660 it is stated 
that Kenfig Down was granted (time out of mind) to 
the monks of the Abbey of Neath, as owners of Sker 

A lease is among the Margam MSS. by King 
Henry VIII. as lord of Glamorgan to Walter Log- 
hour, probably son of Watkin Loughor, and John ap 
Thomas ap Howell, of the Cornmill of Kenfegge, and 


the suit' for grindings of Newton Notashe, with two 
acres of land at Grameshill (so called from the Gramus 
family) between the high-road on the north and Goy- 
lake on the south, with liberty to appoint a miller, an 
easement to the mill, and a site on the mill-stream for 
the mill if required, for 99 years, rent 20s. yearly ; 
with clause for repair by the lessees, to whom wood is 
to be allowed for " wyndyngs " and poles for the weir. 
The tenants of Newton Notashe are to grind at the mill 
under penalty of a fine. 

Dated Chancery of Cardiff, 29 April, a.d. 1526. 

The parish of Kenfig contains 2,996.4 acres, of 
which more than half consists of drift sands. The 
lordship of Kenfig contains Kenfig parish, or Lower 
Kenfig, Upper Kenfig, and part of Trisant in the 
parish of Margam, and its jurisdiction extended over 
the sub-manors of North and South Cornell and Sker. 

I now give the Survey and Presentment of 1660, 
which I copy from Mr. Clark's "Kenfig," as being 
ready to hand : — 

Survey and Presentment of 1660, 

The presentment here printed is that of a jury of 
burgesses, given in the usual form, and in reply to the 
usual questions issued on such occasions. Such docu- 
ments, of the reigns of Elizabeth, James, and Charles, 
are not uncommon in this county, and are usually the 

^ " And John Banty, a tenant according to the custom of the 
Manor, hath not made his continuous suit at the lord's mill as he 
is bound by custom of his lordship, therefore he is in mercy I2d. 
He had not taken his corn to be ground at the lord's mill." — 
" The Manor," by N. J. Hone. 


earliest and best evidence for boundaries and local 
rights. There are extant two rolls of this presentment, 
of which one, though not original (that is, not signed by 
the jurors), is yet probably of original date, and is that 
here followed. The other is a later copy, made prob- 
ably in 1773. It is to be observed the jurors and 
steward are all Welsh. ^ 

" The Lordship, Mannor, Town and Burrough of 


"A presentment in answer unto certain articles 
given in charge for and on the behalf of the Right 
Honourable Phillip Earl of Pembroke and Mont- 
gomery lord of the said lordship mannor town or 
burrough unto a jury of survey sworn and impannelled 
(by Robert Williams Esquire steward of the said lord- 
ship or mannor and Constable of the Castle of the . 
said town and burrough) the eleventh day of January '| 
in the twelveth year of our Soverign Lord Charles the 
Second by the grace of God of England Scotland 
France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith &c. 
annoq. Domini 1660. 

" By the oathes of 

Thomas Bevan Morgan Evan Yorath 

David Thomas Howell Henry Lyddon 

Thomas Morgan Hopkin Edward 

Evan Thomas Jenkin Griffith 

Thomas Hopkin Thomas Nicholas Morgan 

Thomas Hopkin Pritchard Thomas Prichard 

Jenkin William George Thomas, Jurors. 
' Clark's " Kenfig Charters." 

--'^- ^' n 


[To face f'tiiii- 241. 


" I. To the first article they present and say that 
the manner town or burrough of Kenfigg is a particu- 
lar and distinct lordship except only the intermixture 
of certain lands of other lordshipps as shall be 
mentioned in answer to the second article And the 
bounds and meares of the said lordship doe extend 
from a place called Gutter y furlong on the south 
part unto half the race or current of Kenfigg water or 
river on the north part and from the Rugge or the 
lordship of Coyty on the east part unto the sea on 
the west part And that the meares and bounds of 
the said town burrough or corporation doe extend 
from the sea by a house called Ty yr Ychan in 
Skerre unto a stone lyeing in the highway leading 
from Kenfigg to Notage and from thence by a stone 
lyeing in a close belonging to Rees Thomas Matthew 
called Y Kae Issha unto another stone lyeing on 
Heol y Broome on the south part and from thence 
by a stone lyeing at Groes y gryn unto another stone 
lyeing in Kae Pwll y Kyffylau and from that stone on 
the eastern side of Marias House unto a cross called 
Croes Jenkin on the east part and from thence by a 
cross lyeing in Kae Garw unto a stone by Notch 
Coarton lyeing in the highway leading from Kenfigg 
to Margam on the north part and from thence directly 
unto the sea And as for the compass length and 
breadth thereof they referr it to the said apparent 
meares and marks, 

" 2. To the second article they present and say that 
the lordship of Pile in Kenfig alias Kenfigg and Pile 
being the lordships and mannors of S'r Edward 
Mansel Barronet and that the mannor of North 



Cornely holden by John Turberville Esquire and the 
mannor of South Cornely holden by William Herbert 
Esquire doe next adjoyn unto the said town and 
burrough and that part of the said severall lordships 
or mannors of Pile in Kenfig al's Kenfigg and Pile 
and North and South Cornely doe ly within the 
bounds or circuits of the said town and burrough of 
Kenfigg They further say that they know not of any 
person or persons that did or doe intrude or incroach 
in or upon the said town or burrough or any part 

" 3. To the third article they present and say that 
there is within ye s'd town or burrough or under the 
said lordship or mannor two manners of free soccage 
tenure one thereof called Pascall Hall holden under 
the yearly rent of two pence halfpenny an acre and 
suit of court every month And the other free tenure 
under the rent in the schedule hereunto afiexed 
specified and suit of court twice in the year (videlicett) 
at May and at Michaelmas 

'' Paschall Hill Hould 


William Herbert of Swanzey Esq. holdeth 

one acre and a half rent p'r ann' . -031 

John Turberville Esq. holdeth one acre rent 

p'r ann' . . . . . . . o 2j 

Richard Lougher of Tithegstone Esq. holdeth 

eight acres rent p'r ann' . . . .18 

Jenkin Griffith and Thomas James jure 
uxoris holdeth three acres rent p'r 
ann' . . . . . . • o 7I 


s. d. 
Richard Lewis of Kenfigg holdeth seven acres 

and one quarter rent p'r ann' . .16 

Hopkin Thomas of Kenfigg holdeth eight 

acres rent p'r ann' . . . .18 

William ap Evan infant holdeth half one acre 

rent p'r ann' . . . . . . o \\ 

Jenkin Howard holdeth eight acres rent p'r 

ann' . . . . . . .18 

David Bevan of Cornely holdeth 2 acres rent 

p'r ann' . . . . . . .05 

Gronow William of Kenfigg holdeth eleven 

acres rent p'r ann' . . . -23^ 

Thomas Hopkin of Kenfigg holdeth one acre 

and a half or thereabouts rent p'r ann' . o 4 
Lewis Aylward of Kenfigg holdeth thirty- 
eight acres and a half rent p'r annum . 8 o\ 
Edward Morgan of Lantwit by Neath holdeth 

23 acres rent p'r ann' . . . • 4 92 
Rees Leyson of Kenfigg holdeth one acre and 

3 quarters rent p'r ann' . . . . o 4J 

Thos. Morgan of Kenfigg holdeth eleven 

acres rent p'r ann' . . . -23! 

John ap Evan of Kenfigg holdeth two acres 

rent p'r ann' . . . . . .05 

Nicholas Morgan of Kenfigg holdeth one acre 

and a half rent p'r ann' . . . -03! 
George Thomas Katherine Jenkin and Eliza- 
beth Jenkin do hold one cottage rent p'r 

annum . . . . . . .01 

Harry Jenkin of Kenfigg holds one cottage 

rent p'r ann' . . . . . .01 


^' Free Tenants 

s. d. 
William Herbert Esquire holds the manner 

of South Cornely rent . . . .160 

John Turberville Esq. holds the mannor of 

North Cornely rent p'r ann' . . .910^ 

Thomas Turbervill of Skerre 2"ent. holds the 
third part of Kenfigg Down and payeth 
therefore yearly at the Feast of St. James 
ye Apostle . . . . . .50 

The buro^esses of Kenfio-or doe hold the other 

o 00 

two parts of Kenfigg Down and pay 

therefore yearly at the feast afores'd .10 o 
Sir Edward Mansell Barronett holds part of 

Marias Farm rent . . . . .44 
Thomas Hopkin Pritchard holds one acre 

rent p'r ann' . . . . . .10 

Jenkin Thomas holdeth one acre rent p'r 

annum . . . . . . .10 

Wenlliam Thomas of Kenfigg Vidua holds 

one acre rent p'r ann' . . . .10 

Lewis Ayleward holds one acre rent p'r ann' . o 5I 
Gronow William holdeth three acres rent p'r 

ann' . . . . . . .04 

David Nicholas of Margam holdeth one acre 

called Ball Acre rent p'r ann' . . .02 

Richard Lougher Esq. holdeth eight acres 

rent p'r ann' . . . . . .08 

Katherine John of Margam holds 3 acres rent 

p'r ann' . . . . . . .02^ 

David Bevan holdeth one acre rent p'r ann' . o of 
Hopkin Thomas afores'd holds fifteen acres 

rent p'r ann' . . . . . .14^ 


" They further present and say that there are 
within the said lordship certain free lands of soccage 
tenure held from time to time part under the rent 
of a red rose and the other part under the rent of 
three pepper graines to be paid yearly at the Feast of 
St. John Baptist and to be fetcht with wain and oxen 
but how distinguished the one from the other they 
know not Also suit of court twice in the year (vizt.) 
at the two leets The said land holden of and by the 
persons following 

" Rees Leyson holdeth six acres 
" David Bevan holdeth thirty acres and one half 
" Edward Morgan holdeth twenty acres 
" Mary Sanor of Ballas widow holdeth six acres 
" William Thomas of Kenfigror holdeth one acre 
** Alice Evan wid'w and Evan Lydon her son doe 
hold five acres 

" Phillip Stringer of Kenfigg holdeth half one acre 
" Thomas Hopkin Thomas jure uxoris holdeth one 

" Cecill Thomas of Kenfigg spinster holdeth two 
acres and three quarters 

" Howell Rees of Kenfigg holdeth one acre 
" John Kerry of Margam jure uxoris Hopkin 
Jenkin of the same jure uxoris Leyson Edward of 
Newton jure uxoris Alice William and Ann William 
spinsters doe hold jointly four acres 

" Gronow William of Kenfigg aforesaid holdeth 
three acres 

" Llewelyn John of Kenfigg holdeth one acre 
" David Nicholas of Margam holdeth two acres 
" Lewis Nicholas of Margam holdeth half one acre 


" Lewis Ayleward of Kenfigg afores'd holdeth 

eighteen acres 

" Thomas ab Evan of Kenfi^or holdeth two acres 
" Richard Lougher of Tithegston Esq. holdeth 

forty one acres 

" They also present and say that severall of their 
free tenants have lost their freehold (time out of mind) 
by reason of the choaking blowing and over-blowing 
up of the sands what number of acres they know not 

" 4. To the fourth article they say that the said 
town or burrough have been incorporated (time out 
of mind) and by prescription time out of mind they 
hold monthly courts and therein hear and determine 
all manner of suits actions and plaints between party 
and party to any value whatsoever and that such 
courts are held from time to time (before the 
portreeve) under the style and name of His Ma'tys 
Court Leet or the Court Baron of the Right 
Honourable Phillip Earl of Pembroke and Mont- 
gomery &c. or both and that the burgesses of the 
said town doe owe suit to the same courts and 
other free tenants at such time or times as is speci- 
fied in their answer to the third article They 
further say that the officers yearly changeable are 
the portreeve one sergeant one constable one 
heyward and two aletasters and that the major 
part of the burgesses yearly elect three of their 
own society whereof the constable of the Castle 
sweareth one to be portreeve At any time after 
Michaelmas Leet the rest of the said officers are 
to be sworn by the portreeve and as for the officers 


of the said town both past and present their names 
are to be seen in the records of the said town and 
the yearly benefitt and profitt belonging to such 
officers are both uncertain and inconsiderable 

" 5. To the fifth article they say that they are not 
certain what number of buro^esses were and are within 
the said town and who ought to perform their suit 
at every court They have answered to the fourth 
article and they know not of any profitt or acknow- 
ledgement due unto the lord from them as burgesses 
but their yearly rent which is (besides the rent of 
Kenfigg Down) the certain sum of ten shillings 

"6. To the sixth article they say that (for ought 
they know) the oath of late yeares administered unto 
the s'd buro;esses is ag'reeable in substance and effect 
with the oath of the burgfesses time out of mind but to 
declare the particulars thereof they know not 

"7. To the seventh article they say they have 
one com'on called Rug-ofe within and belonorin^ to the 
burgesses of the said town and burrough the quantity 
thereof they know not It is meared in length from 
the Rugge of Coyty to Cats Pit in breadth from 
Kevencribor to the river And one other com'on 
called Kenfiggs Down the quantity thereof they know 
not meared from the lands of Richard Lougher Esq. 
to the sea They further say that none of the bur- 
gesses of the said town (by their ordinances) ought to 
pasture in and upon the said com'on lands but such of 
the burgesses as doe dwell or inhabit within the 
bounds or limits of the said town or corporation. 

" 8. To the eighth article they say that the fore- 
mentioned com'on called Kenfiggs Down was 


granted (time out of mind) to the monks of the Abby 
of Neath and the burgesses of Kenfigg as they were 
informed by their forefathers but the most part thereof 
is and hath been enjoyed by the said burgesses (time 
out of mind) at the yearly rent specified and mentioned 
in the third article 

" 9. To the ninth article they say that they know 
not of any herriott profitt or acknowledgement due 
unto the lord of the said burrough att the death of a 
burgess and that the perquisites of courts waifes 
estrays felons goods and many other royalties hap- 
pening within the said town and burrough do (for 
ought they know) properly belong unto the lord of the 
burrough and to be accountable unto the said lord by 
the portreeve from time to time The estrays (time 
out of mind) in manner and form following (viz't) for 
every estrayed sheep twelve pence and for every hairy 
beast five shillings and the perquisites of courts fines 
and amerciaments to be affeered by two of the 
ancientest burgesses upon oath as is accustomed time 
out of mind 

"10. To the tenth article they say they have 
specified (in answer to the foregoing articles) In 
particular what and how much yearly rent is payable 
unto the lord and that the same is levyable by the 
Serjeant and ale tasters and accountable by the port- 
reeve They further say that Thomas Lougher Gent, 
holdeth one messuage and one hundred and six acres 
of land more or less but what rent or duty he payeth 
or ought to pay they know not but refer themselves to 
his lordships terriers &c The said Thomas Lougher 
payeth yearly for one acre called Erw Heol Cornely 


twelve pence and for one other acre called Erw yr 
Gorse Heer payeth yearly five pence halfpenny And 
the said seventeen pence halfpenny is leviable by the 
Serjeant and accountable unto the lord by the 
portreeve They further say that John Leyson and 
David Bowen of Newton doe enjoy the benefitt and 
profitts of the coales at the com'on of Rugge but what 
rent they pay or ought to pay they know not but 
refer themselves to his lordships terriers &c They do 
further say that after the decease of every lord dyeing 
possessed or lord of this lordship or mannor there is 
due unto the succeeding lord thirty three shillings and 
fourpence in and under the name of mizes to be paid 
in five years next after the decease of every such lord 
as shall die possessed of the premises viz't six shillings 
and eight pence yearly for and during the said five 
years to be rated upon the tenants and burgesses and 
accountable by the portreeve They further say that 
they know not of any other yearly rent or profitt due 
unto the lord saveing what they have mentioned in 
answer to the forg-oino;- articles. 

•'II. To the eleventh article they say that the 
burgesses of the said town have time out of mind 
been sworn by the portreeve and thereby admitted 
burgesses and they know not of any acknowledg- 
ment payable unto the lord upon their admission 
And as to the number of burgesses sworn within 
one or two days together they are uncertain They 
further say that (time out of mind) it hath been 
their practice to swear and admitt such and so 
many person or persons burgesses as the portreeve 
and aldermen of the said town did think fitt to be 


sworn and admitted they only agreeing and consenting 

"12. To the twelfth article they say that Evan 
Gronow for some late yeares was and att present is the 
recorder or town clerk constituted by the portreeve 
and for his fee it is inconsiderable and uncertain 
They also say that the constitution and appoint- 
ment of the recorder and town clerk there and time 
out of mind was by the portreeve of the said town and 
burrouorh for the time beinof. 

" 13. To the thirteenth article they say that they 
are not certain what messuages or dwellings houses 
were and are within the said burrough or corporation 
by reason that the sands had overcomed (time out of 
mind) a great number of dwellinghouses within the 
said burrough and town 

" 14. To the fourteenth article they say that some 
part of the said third part of the lands granted 
unto the said corporation and monks of Neath now 
in the possession of Thomas Turbervill Gent, of 
Skerre hath been inclosed (time out of mind) and 
doth soe continue The quantity and value thereof 
they know not And the said Mr. Thomas Tur- 
bervill doth receive the profitt and benefitt of the 
said land They also say that some part of the 
other two parts of the said land granted as aforesaid 
now in the possession of the burgesses of the said 
town or corporation containing by estimation eighteen 
acres (more or less) to the value of forty shillings 
yearly or thereabouts hath been inclosed some seven 
years ago by the portreeve and aldermen of the 
said town and the rest of the burgesses consenting 


thereunto and the same doth so continue and the said 
burgesses doe receive the benefitt and profitt of the 
said lands They further say that some part of 
another com'on called Rugge (belonging to the said 
town or corporation) hath been inclosed time out of 
mind by the burgesses of the said town and that the 
same doe so continue The quantity and value thereof 
they know not The said burgesses doe receive the 
benefit and profitts of the said lands 

"15. To the fifteenth and last article they say 
that they know not of any sort or kind of fishes that 
were (or usually have been) taken within the pool 
situate within the said town and burrough but only 
eels and roaches They alsoe say that the fishing 
of the said pool doth belong to the burgesses of the 
said town and burrough and they know not of any 
certain or considerable benefitt or profitt received 
thereof by any." 

The boundaries : Gutter-y- Furlong on the south 
part ; I take this to be Gwter-y-Cwn on the shore at 
Sker Rocks, where the boundary touches high-water 
mark west-south-west of Sker House, thence along the 
shore to the centre of Kenfig river. Then from the 
lordship of Coity on the east unto the sea on the west, 
thus apparently including the whole of Cefn Cribwr. 
Then returning to Gwter-y-Cwn, Dog's ditch, on the 
sea-shore the boundary passes thence through a cattle- 
shed called Ty-yr-Ychen in Sker Farm to a stone 
lying in the highway from Kenfig to Notage ; this is 
near Ffynon-y-Mer where the road leaves the common 
and the lane begins, thence to a stone in a close called 
y cae Isaf, and thence to a stone lying on Heol-y- 


Broome ; then to a stone at Groes-y-Gryn (I think 
this stood at or near the blacksmith's shop at CorneH) ; 
from here to a stone in Cae pwll y Cyffylau — the field 
of the Horses' pool — and from that stone on the eastern 
side of Marias House unto a cross called Croes Jenkin 
on the east part, and from thence by a cross lying in 
Kae Garw unto a stone by Notch Coarton (I do not 
know what Notch Coarton means) lying in the high- 
way leading from Kenffig to Margam on the north 
part, and from thence directly to the sea. The stone 
by Notch Coarton is the Roman milliary stone of 
Pumpeius Carantorius. 

The whole of Cefn Cribwr as far as the River 
Ogmore appears to be in the lordship of Kenfig. 
Thus " the Ruorae which extends in length from 
Catput as far as the Rugge of Coitiff" — the ridge of 
Coity ; Coity begins on the east of the river Ogmore. 
"And in width from Cefn Cribwr as far as the water 
which runs from Lowareksmore to Kenfig." Loware- 
kesmore is Llywarch's moor, now Hirwaun. 

Kenfig Down is stated to extend from the Earl's 
meadow as far as Goutesfurlong of the Abbot of 


STORMY, so called from the Sturmi family, is 
partly in Pyle parish, and therefore needs notice 
in a work on Kenfig, or, as it is termed, Pyle and 

We have an interesting and early deed in Miss 
Talbot's collection of ancient MSS., and it is one 
which gave me a great deal of thought. It was so 
difficult to fix the location ; some persons wished to 
claim the deed as applying to Pentre in the Rhondda, 
simply because of the vfords fontem Petre, which they 
considered to be Pentre, and from the mention of the 
old castle on the hill, this referring, they said, to ''the 
old Caer or camp above Ystrad-y-fodwg Church, 
exactly opposite Fons-Pentre." These are Dr. Birch's 
words in a footnote in his " Margam Abbey." He 
also says, " Perhaps for Fons-Pentre, well of Pentre 
Ystrad-y-fodwg or Ffynon-Pedr, Peter's Well." Un- 
fortunately for this theory (the Rhondda Naturalist 
Society were most anxious, as the Rev. John Griffith, 
then of Pentre, wrote me, to secure the location of the 
deed in their midst) the Sturmi lands were not in 
Rhondda, but in Pyle and Tithegstone — Stormy Farm 



and Stormy Down, for instance. Again, fons petre 
cannot by any twist of desire be turned into Pentre or 
Pen-tref, top or end of a village or place. Fons petrae, 
as it should be, the stone-well, is the Ffynon-y-maen ^ 
near Brombil, a little way north-east of Stormy Farm. 
The old castle upon the mountain, " vetus castellum 
super montem," is the British camp, or Castle Kribor 
of the monastic deeds, on the nose of Cefn Cribwr. 

My pen has run away and I must stop and give 
the deed. It is a very old deed, and among the 
witnesses is Brother Meiler, the hermit of Pendar, 
and probably before of the Hermitage of Theodoric. 

Before giving the actual deed I give a deed by 
which the donor became possessed of the land she 
gave to Margam Abbey. 

T. 1 98 1 is a charter by Roger Sturmi that he has 
appointed to Gunnilda, his wife, at his marriage eighty 
acres of arable land between the streams of the Ford 
of Tav and Chenewini, lying between the way which 
leads from the stream of the Ford of Tav to Fons 
Petre, or stone well, and the old castle upon the great 
mountain. The overplus of his land there is to be 
divided between his two dauo-hters. 

Witnesses : The Abbot of Margam ; Walter de 
Cardif, monk of Margam ; Thomas the priest of Villa 
Sturmi ; Walter Luvel, and others. 

The following is the actual deed : — 

T. 1 1 (C. MCCCCVII) is a grant by Gunnilda, wife 

of Roger Sturmi, with assent of her husband, to 

Margam Abbey of the land which he gave, or rather, 

I presume, let, to the monks for half a mark yearly 

• The Spring or Well of the Stone, the Stone Well. 


rent ; the land includes her dower-land, viz., eighty 
acres between the stream of the ford Taus (Dr. Birch 
says, i.e., the ford of Tav Pontypridd) and the stream 
Chenewinus, and between the way which leads from 
the stream of the ford Taus to the fons petre and the 
old castle on the hill. 

The abbot paying 4 marks silver and some lamb- 
skins for making a pelisse, and twenty sheep. 

Sworn as a spontaneous gift by the grantor before 
God and His Saints, "per nullam coactionem vel 
mariti vel alterius cujusdam . . . set spontanea 

Witnesses : William, Archdeacon of Llandaff ; 
Brother Meiler the hermit ; Matildis, wife of Baldwine ; 
Matildis, daughter of Richard, son of Gummund ; 
Cecilia, wife of Robert Testard ; Christiana, wife 
of Walter " Blanchigernonis," or " of the white 
whiskers " ; Beatrice, wife of Osbert the Miller, and 
others. A formidable array of women witnesses. 

It is to be noted that the ford is called Tav, 
not the stream : the stream of the Ford of Tav. 
I am unable to locate the ford or the Chenewini, 
but it is clear Gunnilda's land lies between the road 
passing Brombil and Ffynnon-y-maen and the British 
Camp on the end of Cefn Cribwr, near which 
is Pen-Castell Farm. The ford of Tav may be the 
ford on the Kenfig river, now called Rhyd Yorath 
Goch. The Chenewini may be the Goylake. 

T. 1978 [C. LI II] is a grant by Geoffrey Esturmi, 
with assent of M., his wife, R. R., and Geoffrey, 
his sons, and Agnes, his daughter, to the Abbey 
of all the land between that of Herbert, son of 


Godwineth, and the River Kinithwini, as that 
river runs down the mountain to the moors as far 
as the lower water, and from that lower water to 
the road leadinof throusfh the mountain-land, and 
dividing the land of the Earl from his own ; both 
pastures, arable, and moorland. The monks give 
12 silver marks to the grantor to help him to pay 
his debts ; to each son a cappa, or cloak, and four 
nummi, or gold pieces, and undertake to receive him 
into their fraternity when he becomes infirm. 

Witnesses : Eglin (de Purbica '), Sheriff of 
Glamorgan, William Pincerna,- and several others. 
This is an early deed in the history of Margam 

Geoffrey Sturmi and Roger, his son, grant to 
Margam Abbey by T. 1979 all the land between the 
Ford of Tav, Vadum Tavis, and the Stone-well, Fons- 
Petre, as the public way leads from the ford to the 
well, and as the streams descend from the ford and 
the well down to the junction of the streams, viz., all 
the land inclosed between those two streams and the 
public road, arable, meadow, and pasture ; just as 
William Earl of Gloucester granted to Geoffrey 
permission to give some of his land for his soul's 
health, and chiefly to Margam Church. For three 
and a half marks. 

Witnesses : Walter Luvel ; Geoffrey Sutor, the 
cobbler ; John Niger Faber, the blacksmith ; Roger 
Rex ; Rodbert Sutoi", the cobbler ; William Pelli- 

» Circa a.d. 1147-1148. 

= Occurs in Foundation Charter of Neath Abbey, circa 

A.D. II29. 


parius, the pelterer, and others. This seems to 
grant the land below Gunnilda s eighty acres. 

T. 1980 is a grant by Roger Sturmi to the Abbey 
of all the land of his father which it holds, and of all 
the rest of the land which his father held of the 
Earl of Gloucester's fee in Margam, for the half- 
yearly rent of half a mark silver. Gaufridus, or 
Geoffrey, his brother, confirms the gift. For 6 marks, 
and 2QS. for his aid in upholding the church fro7n 
claimants (italics are mine), and remission of a 
debt of half a mark due by his father, and 5s. which 
he himself owed for a horse bought from the cellarer 
of the Abbey. To his wife, Gunnilda, 4 marks to 
bar her dower. To his three children each half a 
mark silver, and two cows for the nourishment of the 
little ones — et duas vaccas ad parvulos nutriendos. 

Witnesses : Eglinus, Sheriff of Glamorgan ; Walter 
Luvel ; Gillebert Gramus ; William the priest, chap- 
lain of Kenefeg, and others. 

I think this deed quite closes the door to the 
Rhondda claim. 

It seems extraordinary that persons should, as we 
have seen, part with their land for such seemingly 
inadequate recompense. Six marks at 6s. 8d. each 
at present value of money would be at most £^0. 
Four marks for Gunnilda's eighty acres = £2<^. It 
is true she obtained some ecclesiastical and monastic 
benefits in addition. 

T. 1986. This is a confirmation by Roger Sturmi 
the younger, son of Roger Sturmi, of the gifts of his 
grandfather, Geoffrey Sturmi, to the Abbey of land in 
Margam, also of his father's gifts with assent of his 



brothers, Geoffrey and William. Rent, half a mark, 
as provided for in the charter of his father and of 
William Earl of Gloucester. 

We have seen in the grant, T. 1980, by Roger 
Sturmi that he received from the Abbey 20s. for his 
aid in upholding the church from claimants. 

Harley Charter "]% B. 3 (C, DCXIX). Testimonial 
letters of William, Rural Dean of Wrenid, Groneath, 
to Hameline, Abbot of Gloucester, and Roger de 
Norwich, Prior of Llanthony, concerning the church 
of Sturmi, whereof there was a controversy between 
Roger Sturmi and Gilbert the priest of New Castle ; 
showing that Geoffrey Sturmi, his father, built the 
church in his vill in the wilderness, on his land 
whereon no one had ever hitherto ploughed, and one 
Tomas, a priest, was presented thereunto by the said 
Geoffrey, and held it all his lifetime ; adding that as a 
fact the said church has not received chrism ^ from 
New-Castle Church, but from the said Dean, and, in 
the days of the said Geoffrey and Roger, children were 
baptized and the dead interred therein. 

Dr. Birch says : "It would appear by the foregoing 
that the priest of New-Castle had complained to his 
patrons, the Abbot of St. Peter's, Gloucester, and the 
Prior of Llanthony, of an alleged invasion of his 
spiritualities by the erection of the church at Sturmy 
within the limits of his parochial boundary." 

This, then, is the reason for the grant of 20s. from 

^ Chrism is one of the Holy Oils, and is used in the Roman 
Catholic Church after Baptism, at Confirmation, at the consecra- 
tion of a Bishop, and at the consecration of things set apart for 
Divine service. Chrism is olive oil mixed with balsam. 


[To face j^agc 259. 


the Abbey of Margam. Roger resisted the claims of 
the priest of New-Castle and inferentially the Abbot 
of Gloucester and the Prior of Llanthony. 

The ruins of the church of Sturmi are in the parish 
of Tythegstone Higher and lie nearly 800 yards 
east from Sturmi Grange and adjoin the north edge 
of Sturmi Down.^ 

In an inclosure having trees in and around it are 
a pine-end and the foundations of a small building 
about 35 feet in length ; among the debris are some 
worked stones ; one about 1 5 inches wide has a 
chamfer on each side, and it has the appearance of 
having formed part of a buttress. This is all that 
remains of Sturmi Church ; near it are foundations of 
other buildings, probably the modest dwelling of the 
priest Tomas, who was presented to it by Geoffrey 

The site of the little church is secluded, nestled close 
to the swelling, russet-clad side of Stormy Down, glad 
that it was not on the top of that cold and bleak moor. 
In old times one can understand what Roger Sturmi 
meant when he said his father built the church in his 
vill in the wilderness on his land whereon no one had 
ever hitherto ploughed. 

It may be appropriate here to mention that Bishop 
Elias notified by a letter dated a.d. 1234, T. 293, 28 

^ Large blocks of Rhaetic sandstones are scattered over 
Stormy Down, and in one of these Mr. John David discovered 
the impression of a great reptihan jaw. The specimen has been 
described by Mr. E. T. Newton as a left dentary bone of a 
Megalosauroid reptile, Zanclodon cambrensis. — " Memoirs of the 
Geological Survey." 


(C. DCCCLXXVIII), to the clergy and laity of his 
diocese that he had confirmed to Margam Abbey the 
lands of Rossaulin, Resolven ; Penhuth, Penh^^dd ; 
Havet-haloc, Hafodheulog ; Sturme and Egleskeinwir, 
Llangeinwir, and the chapels of the said places, &c., as 
his predecessors, Bishops William and Henry, have 
confirmed them (italics are mine). So Margam won 
its object. 

Harley Charter 75, A. 9 (C. XXXVI and 
MCCCCI), is a notification by Earl William to 
his Sheriff of Glamorgan and all his barons and men, 
French, English, and Welsh, that he has confirmed 
the charters of Geoffrey Sturmi and Roger his son 
granting land to Margam Abbey. Also he confirms 
the agreement between the monks and Roger Sturmi 
concerning all the rest of Roger's land held of the 
Earl's fee in Margam, viz., that the monks hold the 
land of Roger in perpetual farm for half a mark silver 
yearly service to the said Roger, and after his death 
to his heirs, provided that Roger does service due, as 
he and his father before him did, to the Earl for the 
land. This agreement was confirmed at the request 
of Geoffrey, Roger's brother, to whom the Abbot of 
Margam gave a silver mark and 2. pullus, or colt, for his 
consent. The Earl undertakes to limit his power of 
distraint to the said half-mark silver yearly. 

Witnesses : Hawisia, the Countess, the Earl's wife ; 
Hamo de Valoniis, constable of Cardiff Castle, and 
many others. And now I must bring to your mind, by 
way of remembrance, the position of William Earl of 
Gloucester, as it seems a long time since we saw who 
he was, and what his possessions were. 


Earl William was the son of Robert, first Earl of 
Gloucester, and his wife Mabel, daughter of Sir Robert 
Fitzhamon. Earl William succeeded to Mabel's 
inheritance, and so possessed Kenfig and the hundred 
of Margam, a much larger district than is represented 
by the parish to-day ; we find, for instance, that the 
Sturmi lands were in Margam. It would also appear 
that all the landowners held their lands from the Earl, 
and did service for them, to the Earl. 

From a copy of Earl William's deed in the Margam 
Abbey Roll, T. 544, 15 (C. MCCCCII), we find his 
grant was confirmed when he, Geoffrey Sturmi, became 
a frater conversus of the Monastery ; he became a lay 
brother, and had to perform various works under the 
monastic regulations. 

The Abbey rolls consist of copies of the various 
documents on small rolls of parchment with witnesses 
omitted, evidently for easy transport in case of attack 
on the Abbey, so that should the originals be lost, 
copies would be available. 

Roger Sturmi, the younger, by Harley Charter 75, 
D. 5 (C. DCCCLXXX), quit-claimed to the Abbey, 
with assent of his heirs, all the annual rent due from 
the monks of half-mark silver for the Sturmi lands, in 
perpetual almoign, charged with a recognisance of 
a pair of spurs or 6d. yearly. The monks give him 
1 00s. for this quit-claim. 

Witnesses : Robert de Cantilupo ; Wido Wake ; 
Henry the forester ; John Croili ; Roger, prior of 
Neth ; Richard, sub-prior of the same house ; Gervase 
and Geoffrey, monks of Neth and others. Dated 23 
April, A.D. 1234. 


Two deeds, Hurley Charter y^, B. 8, 9 (C. CXVIII, 
DCCCLXXXII), contain the terms of (i) agreement 
and (2) the quit-claim of John, Res, Roger, Geoffrey, 
Henry, Moreduth (Meredydd), and Maurice, sons of 
Griffin Began, with and to Roger Sturmi, their uncle, 
and the monks of Margam, concerning the moiety of 
the rent of Sturmiestune, viz., "half a mark, which 
they alleged their uncle Roger had given by charter 
to their father. Griffin, in marriage with his sister, 
their mother," Sworn "in ecclesia de Landaf, super 
Tumbam Sancti Theliawi (St. Teilo) the Patron Saint 
of Llandaff, et super omnia sacrosancta ejusdem 
ecclesiae." In the presence of Elyas, Bishop of 
Llandaff ; Maurice, Archdeacon ; Rees, son of Griffin. 
The Archdeacon being proctor of the said Roger 
Sturmi, together with John (de Goldclive), Abbot of 
Margam. The witnesses to both deeds being Elias, 
Bishop of Llandaff, and many others. 

Dated in Whit-week, a.d. 1234. 

Harley Charter ys^ B. 6 (C. DCCCLXXXI), is a 
quit-claim by Lewelin Began and his seven brethren 
already mentioned, to the Abbey of all their right to 
land at Sturmi. Sworn on the sacrosancta at Llandaff, 
with solemn promises to help the monks always. A 
long array of witnesses follows, among whom is the 
Bishop of Llandaff, Helias. 

Dr. Birch says the family of Sturmi is not confined 
to Glamorganshire, but it is met with in the West of 
England. Mr. Clark says " that the transaction herein 
recorded, the confirmation by Earl William, given 
before Harley Charter 75 A. 9, of the Sturmi charters, 
seems to point to the retirement of the family from 


the County, where they are again but once heard of." 
The church of Sturmi was, however, mentioned later, 
as we have seen. 

Various Gifts to the Abbey. 

T. 52 (C. DCXL) is a charter addressed to all the 
sons of Holy Church wherein Walter, son of Ulf, 
notifies that he has granted to Margam Abbey, in 
frank almoign, twelve acres of land near the Grange 
of St. Michael, on the west part, before the full hundred 
of Kenefeg, his sons William and Alexander being 
present. Walter Luvel is among the witnesses. 
This land in part adjoins the land of Walter Luvel 
(see page 75). 

In the early years of the Abbey, as I have said, the 
farms were worked by the conversi or lay brethren, 
but a change came and the lay brethren were no 
longer welcomed to the Abbey and the farms were let 
to secular persons ; the change took place about 
A.D. 1470. The Cistercians at Margam were chiefly 
sheep-farmers, and for this purpose large tracts of 
mountain-land were given to them, such as Hirwaun, 
near Neath, and hills extending thence as far as the 
Rhondda, Llangeinor, and the moors at Cardiff, 
where the Abbot had a grange, hence the name 

On the 13 July, A.D. 1448, Henry VI. issued a royal 
charter T. 1 175 to the Archbishops and public officers 
of the Crown, attesting that, in token of his piety and 
affection for the Virgin Mary, he had granted to St. 
Mary of Margam the lordship and lands lying between 
the waters of Ogmore and Garrewe, from their 



confluence to Rotheney, or Rhondda, in perpetual fee 
farm, at an annual rent of 40s., with various privileges, 
such as a court every three weeks at Egliskeynwyre ^ 
(now Llangeinor), free fishery as far as the Oggemore 
extends, etc. 

In A.D. 1246 the Bailiffs of Bristol had orders to 
seize all the wool purchased by the merchants of Ghent 
in Belgium, from the Abbot of Margam, and to hold 
it until further disposition was made of it. The 
reason for this seizure of the wool I have not been 
able to ascertain. 

As showing- the chanore from working their own 
granges to the letting to secular persons is a lease 
(T.527) by Abbot David to Thomas Hopkyn, of the 
reversion of a tenement in St. Michael's Grange called 
Holond, and pasture on the hills near Colbroke for 
70 years, at a yearly rent of 9 cranocs of corn and a 
heriot. This change was a precursor of the dissolution 
and the monastic corporations were getting frightened 
about their position. Later on they made almost 
ruinous leases and quasi freeholds. Dated at Margam, 
2 Aug., A.D. 1503. 

The same abbot leased — T. 277 (C. MCCCXIII) — 
for 99 years to Lewelyn ap Jankyng and Griffith ap 
Lewelyn, his son, of the grange of Tanglus-lond 3 at 
the yearly rent of 1 2 cranocs of wheat and 4 cranocs of 
barley 4 and a heriot of the best beast. Endorsed 

* The Church of St. Ceinwyr. 

= Clark, " Land of Morgan/' p. 109. 

3 Ty Tanglwys land. 

4 " Et quatuor cranoc ordei puri sicci et bene ventulati cum 
medio legale mensurati.' 


Tare Tanglust, probably for Tir Tanglust. Dated at 
the Chapter House of the Abbey, 13 Sept., a.d. 15 16. 
Seal still appended. 

Abbot John Gruffydd leased T. 531 to David ap 
Howell Goz, Gwenllian Verz Thomas his wife, and 
others, the moiety of the grange Court- Bachan ^ at 
Istormy2 in the manor of Stormy vaghan,3 for 70 
years at a yearly rent of 7s. and 8 geese, and for the 
pastures 6 bushels of wheat, with specified services. 
4 Feb. A.D. 1 5 18, 

The other moiety was leased — T. 279 (C. 
MCCCXVH) — to Jankyn ap Phelip and Elizabeth 
verz 4 Jeuan his wife. Rent 6s. 4d. and 8 geese. 
6 Feb. A.D. 15 18. 

The seal of the Abbot and Convent is appended to 
this deed. The Virgin and Child in a canopied niche 
between two shields of arms ; dex. three clarions for 
the Earls of Gloucester, founders of the Abbey ; sin. 
three chevrons for Clare and Avene. 

The same abbot leased T. 533 to Jeuan ap Lle'n 
vaur, Agneta Verz Thomas his wife, and Lle'n ap 
Jeuan, their son, land at Istormy, in the upper part of 
lands called Can Grew, for their lives at a yearly rent 
of fourteen bushels of corn, and geese at Michaelmas. 
Margam, 26 Nov., a.d. 15 18. 

And by T. 534 land called Gweyn y Brombyll (in 
Storme Vachan), for sixty years at a yearly rent of nine 
cranocs of wheat, &c. Margam, 26 Nov., a.d. 1518. 

It will be noticed in the two previous deeds the 
word " bushel " is used. 

^ Cwrt bychan — little Court or Grange. ^ Stormy. 

3 Stormy fychan, Little Stormy. 4 Verz — verch, daughter. 


The abbot evidently had a liking for geese at 

An extract from the Court Rolls of the Abbot at 
Kenefig T. 264 is the earliest brought to our notice. 

In it Jeuan ap Gryffyth ap Gwelym is admitted 
tenant in land called Gebon ys londe, and after his 
death to Jovvan verze (a variant of verch) Howelle 
his wife, and then to Thomas his son; rent i4d.; 
entry 3s. 4d., suit of court, and a pair of capons for 
entry of the said Jovvan. The capons being by way 
of a fine or heriot ; a service still kept up in some 

Before John Stradlyng, Esq., Steward, 9 Oct., 
1459 A.D. 

And just ten years before the Abbey fell the Abbot 
John Gruffydd leased the Mill. 

An extract (C. MCCCXXVIII) from the Court 
Roll of John Abbot of Margam, at Kenfig, 15 Oct., 
A.D, 1527. Before Mathew Cradock, knight, then 
seneschal, or steward. To this court came Thomas ap 
David ap Howelle, Johannes ap Thomas David ap 
Howelle et Johannes ap Johne his son, and took from 
the lord the water-mill called Seynt Mizhelle is mylle 
(this, of course, is St. Michael's Mill), to hold it for 
their life. Rent 40s. and court suit, two capons or 4d. 
for entry. 

Signet seal, dark red, f in. dia., a Boar's head. 

Tewkesbury Abbey Exchanges Lands with Margam 
AND Retires from Kenfig. 

Tewkesbury Abbey and Margam came to an agree- 
ment in A.D. 1484 and i486 and exchanged lands. On 


the 12 Jan., a.d. 1485, King Richard III. granted 
a licence to the Abbeys of Margam and Tewkesbury 
to exchange certain premises,^ 

Thus Tewkesbury left Kenfig. 

T. 526 (C. MCCLXXXVI) is an old English deed 
of an agreement between Richard the Abbot and 
Convent of Tewkesbury, and ** Richarde Stradlynge 
monke ofe the monastery ofe oure Ladye ofe Morgan 
in byhalf of William Abbot of Morgan and the covent 
of the same place, by reason ofe a proxci ofe theire 
fulle auctoritie commyttede to the same Richarde," that 
Margam Abbey shall assure to Tewkesbury Abbey 
all Margam's lands at Salte-mershe Tokynton 
Olverstone and Bristow (Bristol) above a pension of 
60s. to be paid yearly at Bristow by the hands of 
their prior of St. James, and shall warrant the same to 
be of the yearly value of ^12 over all charges thereof 
deducted except tythes. The Abbot and Convent of 
Margam to have in exchange all such lands spiritual 
and temporal as they of the said Abbot and Convent 
of Teukesbury now have by composition and the 
patronage of the same. Dated at Teukesbury, Monday 
before Michaelmas, 2 Rich. III., a.d. 1484. 

Then comes the deed of exchange. 

This is T. 269 (C. MCCLXXVIII), an exchange 
between William, by Divine permission Abbot of the 
Monastery of the Blessed Mary of Morgan in the 
County of Glamorgan and Morgan and the convent 
of the same place on the one part, and Richarde by 
Divine permission Abbot of the Monastery of the 
Blessed Mary of Teukesbury in the county of 
^ Calendar of Patent Rolls, Part 2, m. 6. 


Gloucester and the convent of the same place. 
The former leases to Teukesbury all the lands 
tenements, meadows, and pastures in Salt-merch, 
Hosbrugge, Tokyngton, Olverston and the town of 
Bristoll in the County of Gloucester, for 70 years, 
and an annuity of 60s. The said Abbot and Convent 
of Teukesbury lease to the Abbot and Convent of 
Morgan, for a similar term, the tithes, lands, and 
advowsons of Newcastle and Kenefeke in the County 
of Glamorgan, with undertaking of renewals. 

At the end of 60 years a new deed of lease for a 
fresh term of 70 years to be made. Dated in the 
Chapter-houses of the aforesaid Monasteries, 27 May, 
A.D. i486. 

Harley Charter 75, A. 29 (C. CCCXCVII). In 
this John Aston, Prior of the Priory of St. James, 
Bristol, acknowledges having received from Brother 
Richard Stradlynge, Cellarer of Margam, £■}> sterling 
yearly pension appertaining to Tewkesbury Abbey, due 
at the Feast of All Saints. 

Dated at Bristol 13 Oct., a.d. i486. 

Fifty-one years later the King — "Bluff King Hal" — 
had laid his grasp on both Abbeys by reason of his 
quarrel with the Pope, who would not see, as Henry 
came to see when he wanted a fresh wife, that he 
had done wrongly in marrying his brother's widow, 
Catherine of Aragon. The Pope declined to sanction 
the divorce, and because the Abbeys were faithful to 
the Pope, King Henry prevailed with his Parliament 
to pass acts of dissolution and the monastic establish- 
ments were abolished. 



IP RESUME this common was allocated to certain 
owners of land in the vicinity. The burgesses of 
Kenfig were given pasturage along the ridge, viz., Cefn 
Cribwr, which extends from Catput to the ridge of 
Coity and in breadth from Cefn Cribwr to the water 
flowing from Lowerkesmore to Kenfig. 

They are to have a Messor ^ upon their pasture ; 
should he find other than the burgesses using the 
pasture, their cattle to be attached, and they presented 
in the hundred court of the town for fine according to 
the offence. This is an addition to Lord Edward le 
Despenser's charter by Thomas le Despenser in his 
charter of the i6 February (a.d. 1397). 

The Earl of Pembroke retained the Manor of 
Kenfig until it was sold to Sir Edward Mansell, the 
sale of which I will refer to further on. Apparently 
differences arose between them, and in the answer of 
Sir Edward Mansel much valuable information is 
given in a succinct form, and although I take small 

^ Messor, a Hayward. 



interest in the deeds of later times, I give this for the 
interest others may find in it. 

T. 586 (C. MCCCLXXV) : Trespases supposed to 
be done by Sir Edward Mansell to the preiudice of 
the enheritance of y^ Right Honourable the Earl of 
Pembroke. In Kenfig, Avan, Newton Nottage, and 
Tyre y yarlle.^ 

The Objection. 

Kenfigg. The fishing in the 
pounde of Kenfig. 

The taking of conies upon y^ 
sands between the borough and 
y® sea. 

The inclosure of f of an acre 
(by estimation) of meadow 
grownde by y*" castell. 

The claiming of XL acres of 
marish grownde. 

The breaking of quarries in the 

The abbridging of y*^ bounds of 
the comon. The encreaching of 
the same, and inclosure of some 
parte thereof. 

The Awnswer 
Whereto I have but prescripcon. 

I neither take nor claime any. 

Hit lieth on the Weast side of 
the river w'^'' is the meare of both. 

I claim no grownde thear w'^'' I 
have not in possession descended 
unto me. 

The quarry is a peece of wast 
ground of myne owne. 

I never abbridged any bounds 
nor ever enclosed one fote of 
comon of mine owne on other 

I presume the last two refer to Cefn Cribwr. 

Avan. The bounds of Avan. 
The fishing in the streame. 

The driving of the comon. 

They seeke to encroach upon 
myne inheritance. 

Non have any colour to pretend 
title to hit knowen to be mine 
owne inheritance as well by 
possession dece as judg- 

I never drave fote of hit. 

^ Tir larll, the Earl's land, referring to Robert Earl of 


Newton Nottadge. The driving Hit was my dutie so to do in 
of the comon. that it is mine by inheritance. 

Tyre y Yarlle. The driving of I never drave fote. 
some part of the manor. 

The intollerable threatening of I threatened none but to take 
the tenaunts thear in Avan and what advauntage the lawe would 
Kenfigg. geve me. 

The impounding of some cattel At request of y^ Earle of Pem- 
in Tiryarll beside the detayning broke's surveyers. I graunted 
them in pound two whole days that Morgan John should have his 
longer than promise. cattell out of pound who came not 

for them in two dales after nor 
ever would I have brought or sent 
them unto him. 

In C. MCCCCXLI V we have a copy of " Notes 
touching the Lands in Question," written probably by 
Sir Edward Mansell : — 

The Earles of Glocester, the Lords Spencers, nor 
the Earle of Pembroke had any lands within a mile 
of this medowe and lande in question in all ther times, 
and if that peece wear the lordes of Glam. then it was 
his as in his right of his lordship of Glamorgan. 

On the north-west thereof lieth the manor of Havod- 
porth late suppressed lande. 

On the east lieth the manor of Newcastle. 

Three miles by east [of] hit lieth the manor of Coitie. 

On the south lieth the manor of Tythegstowe. 

On the west lieth the manor of Pitteuin or Pile 
the uttermost inclosures thereof towardes the lande in 
question are Gramus lande and Gistle land mearinge 
upon Catpitt. 

lorath Couch oraunted and abiured all his risfht 
which he had in the lande betwixt Cattpitt and Gramus 
lande and between the water of Kenfigg and the great 
waye that leadeth from the Rugg towards Kenfigg. 


The third soune of Yeroth did abiure the same 

Thear is a forde at the north-east corner of Gwain y 
Kimney '^ called Ryde Yorath Couch - which fully 
proveth that lande to be Yorath Couch and that the 
forde beareth none of his lande whereon the forde 
lieth. (I presume Sir Edward means none of the 
Earl of Pembroke's land.) 

Griffith and Cadrauc the sounis of Cadvant Gilla- 
michel did graunt all the father's lande que jacet ultra 
Kenfigg juxta terram Thome Stormi [which lies 
beyond Kenfigg adjoining the land of Thomas 

Roger Gramus graunted all his land which lieth 
betwine the greate waye which leadeth from Kenfigg 
towards Castell Kribor and the water of Kenfigg. 

They call the place wher the stones wear digged 

Isabell repudiat of King John ladie of Glamorgan 
did confirme to the abbot, &c. : " totam terram inter 
Ellenwellake4 et Witherell, que terra jacet pro 37 
acris, Et residuum ex east parte de Witherell scilicet 
in terra qui tendit de vado lutoso quod dicitur 
Sclemilake per duas quarentenas versus orientem 
et aquilonem usque ad terra(m) Seith." ("All the 
land between Ellenwellelake and Witherell, reckoned 
as thirty-seven acres, and the rest on the east side of 

' Waun-y-cimle. 

2 Rhyd Yorath Goch, near Longland. 

3 Witherell is near Ystrad-fawr, near Newcastle, Bridgend. 
Witherell stream is now Nant Cefn-glas. 

4 Ellenwellelake is the small stream west of Ystrad-fawr. 


Witherell from the muddy ford called Sclemilake for 
two quarentenes length to the east and northwards 
to the land of Seith.") 

She did further release i ij^. id. ob. which the 
abbotes did use to paye of rent for the land of Jouaf 
Troingan ^ juxta Cattpitt. 

Richard de Clare did confirme to the said abbotes 
the same landes by thes wordes, " silicet terre que 
jacent juxta Catpite que redere nobis solebant 
annuatim 30^^"- et jacent inter alias terras monach- 
orum." (" That is to say, land lying near Catpite and 
adjoining other land of the monks which used to yield 
us :i^od. yearly.") 

He also confirmed landes in Corneliesdowne be 
thes wordes, " Videlicet terre super Corneliedowne, 
que reddere nobis solebant annuatim . . . et jacet 
inter terras monachorum." (" That is to say, land 
upon Cornell Down which used to yield us formerly 
by the year . . . and it lies between land of the 

He confirmeth " moram que appelatur Rhedes ad 
aquilonem terre Hugonis de Hereford." 

" Et terram que jacet ad aquilonem ejusdem more 
inter terram Sturmy et aliam terram m.onachorum 
predictorum de Morgan usque ad viam juxta Catpitt 
que vadit ad Morgan." 

"(The moor which is called Rhedes to the north 
of Hugo de Hereford's land." And "the land which 
lies to the north of the same moor between the land 
of Sturmy and other land of the monks, as far as 
the road near Catpitt leading to Margam)." 

^ Jouaf Trwyngam — Jouaf of the crooked nose. 


Laleston. Morgan the soune of Cradocke gave all 
the lande which he hath betwine Wetherell and 

Tuder, Cradock, Knaythur, Alaythor, and Grono 
the sounes of Yorath ap Gislarde cosins and next 
heires to Youaf Troinoan to Catherethdde ^ and 
Yoroth ap Espus Lordes of Piteuin or Pile did 
release ther right to Piteuin. 

The grant of land by the sons of Cadraut Gilla- 
michell mentioned by Sir Edward is T. 1965. It is 
by Griffin and Cadraut, sons of Gillemichel, to 
Margam Abbey, of all the land which belonged to 
the said Cadraut Gillemichel, lying beyond Kenefeg, 
near the land of Roger Sturmi, with quit-claim and 
abjuration of all their lands within or without their 
boundaries. Sworn upon the Sanctuaria of Margam 
Church. Witnesses : Kedivor, son of Abraham ; 
Ithel, son of Breavel ; Enniaun his brother ; Artur, 
son of David Puignel. Early thirteenth century. 

" lorath Couch granted and abiured all his right, 

Morgam Gam, the Lord of Afan, witnessed a 
quit-claim, T. 74 (C. DCCCXI), by Yoruard Coh,^ 
with advice and consent of Maurice, Lowarch, and 
Yoruard, his sons, to Margam Abbey of land between 
Cattepitt, the land of Gramus, the water of Kenefeg 
and the highway leading from La Rigge towards 
Kenefeg. Sworn on the holy reliques of Margam 

Witnesses : Morgan Gam ; Maurice ap Willim, con- 
stable ; Yoruard ap Espus, and others. 

• Ketherech Du. ^ Coh— ^oc//, red. 


This is the grant Sir Edward refers to. 

The ford referred to existed until recently in the 
Kenfig river near Longland, and was known as Rhyd 
Yorath Goch. A bridge has now, a.d. 1907, been 
erected at the ford. 

We have already seen how the land of the Gramus 
family passed by degrees into the hands of the Abbey. 

As Sir Edward alleges, Isabella in her free widow- 
hood granted to Margam Abbey, among other grants, 
a rent of 4s. ijd. issuing out of land that belonged to 
Jouaf Troingam. 

Sir Edward states that Richard de Clare did con- 
firm to the said abbotes the same lande by thes 
wordes, that is to say the land at Catpitte for which 
they used to pay us 3od., lying between other lands 
belonging to the monks. 

This, I find, is a grant by Gilbert de Clare, and 
not by Richard de Clare ; a mistake by Sir Edward, 

These notes of Sir Edward Mansell are interesting 
and useful, indicating as they do the positions of some 
places which were doubtful. 

On the dissolution of the monasteries, the manorial 
rights seem to have been retained for some time by 
the Crown, and King Henry VIII., as we have 
seen, leased, as lord of Glamorgan, the mill of St. 

In A.D. 1668, II May, Philip Herbert, Earl of 
Pembroke and Montgomery, and others, sold the 
Manor of Kenfig to Sir Edward Mansell of Margam 
(C. MCCCCLV!) for ^525. 

"They sell to the said Sir Ewdard Mansell all that 


the lordships or manors of Kenfigg alias Kenfeague in 
the said countie of Glamorgan with all that scite, 
decayed castle there, ediffices, buildings, lands, tene- 
ments, meadows, pastures, feedings, comons, wastes, 
heaths, moores, marshes, woodds, waters, fishings, 
warrens, with all courts, court leetes, court barons, 
view of franck pledge, perquisites of courts, releefes, 
heriotts, wayves, estrayes, goods, chattells, ffelons, 
fugitives, deodands, rents, reversions, services, with all 
rights, royalties, franchises, liberties, jurisdictions, 
rents, proffitts, comodities, and appurtenances to the 
said lordshipp or mannor belonging . . . and all that 
the libertie of digging or raiseing or disposeing of 
coales uppon or within a comon called Rugg." 

I do not think a modern lawyer could think of any 
more matters ; everything seems to be included. 

T. 2081 is an acquittance by Sir John Williams, 
Knt., Treasurer of the Court of Augmentations, to Sir 
Rice Maunxell, Knt., for ;^304 19s. lod., in full pay- 
ment of ^678 IS. 6d. for the purchase of the Manor 
of Kenfige, &c., but the Manor did not come into 
the possession of Sir Rice at all. In the reign of 
Edward VI. the Manor of Kenfig was sold by the 
Crown to the Earl of Pembroke. 

The common of pasture in Cefn Cribwr was claimed 
by Sir Edward Mansell and resisted by Mr. Gamage, 
as appears by the following document : — 

C. MCCCCXLV is a copy of brief of instruction, 
with the proofs in support of the claim of Edward 
Mansell of common of pasture in Keven Cribwr, in 
the lordship of Newcastle, a claim resisted by Mr. 
Gamage, lord thereof. 


It is a very interesting document, and so is the 
document giving ancient evidence as to the right to 
pasture in Cefn Cribwr. 

Morgan ap Cradok before date granted to th' abbey 
of Morgan " communem pasturam totius terre mee ex 
est parte de Neth, etc. ["common of pasture in all my 
lands east of Neath "]. Leyson his soune granted the 
same by lyke words, etc. Richard de Clare granted 
"totam communem pasture inter Kenfig et Ogmore " 
[common of pasture between Kenfig and Ogmore]. 
Edward Mansell claymeth lybertee of pasture for the 
tenants of th' abbot of Morgan in the common of 
Kevencribor part of Mr. Gamage lordship of New- 
castle, as well as prescripcion as by these grants. 

Mr. Gamage denyeth any lybertee of pasture to pass 
by prescription or these words, first for that they are 
to(o) bare. 2. In that 'ex est parte de Neth,' is to(o) 
generall. 3. Because hyt appereth not that Morgan 
ap Cradok or Leyson hys soune weare lords of 
Newcastell or had auctoryte to grant lybertee of 
pasture in Keven-cribor. 4. Because Richard de 
Clare, etc., doth not by his dede prove him self lord 
of Newcastell. 

The first is to be judged by lawe. 

The second is in like sorte to be judged by lawe. 

The third is proved by an other dede of the above 
named Morgan ap Cradock of thes words : ' Ego 
Morgan ap Cradok dedi famulo meo Rogero Cole, 
pro servicio 20 acras terre de dominico meo in feudo 
Novi Castelli, etc' [" I Morgan ap Cradok have given 
to my servant Roger Cole for services 20 acres of 
land of my demesne in the fee of Newcastle "] 


and by a grete nomber of lyke deds as by th' originall 
graunt of th' said fee of Newcastell by John Erie 
Morton then Lord of Glamoro-an and after King- of 
Ingland, to the sayd Morgan ap Cradoc before date. 

The fourth by dyvers grants in the same dede of 
Richarde de Clare Erie of Gloucester of divers lands 
in the fee of Newcastell ' et de 117 acris terre de 
dominico mensae meae in Novo Castello ante datum ' 
[' and of 1 17 acres of land in the demesne of my table 
in New Castle ']. 

It is also proved in that th' abbot and his tenants 
have tyme out of mynd enjoyed comon of pasture in 
th' sayd comon of Kevenkribor. 

Fynally hit is proved by an inquisition taken anno 
3 Edward III. whereby hit was fownd that Gilbert de 
Clare Erie of Gloucester did eject th' abbot of Margan 
out of the common of pasture by thes words, ' et de 
communi pastura quam cum aliis liberis illius patriae 
habuerunt in Kevencribor, etc., liberavit dictis abbati, 
etc., et pasturam de Kevencribor tenendum in seperali.' 

Item the said Edward Mansell claymeth common 
incertam upon Kevencrybor foresaid by vertue of a 
deede thereof made by Richarde de Turberville Lorde 
of Newecastell for a certaine number of cattaile therein 
expressas owt of the granges of Langewith and Stormy. 

Then follows " Evidence as to a Right of Common 
of Pasture on KevenKribwr." 

(C. MCCCCXLVI): ''Morgan son of Caradoc, 
etc., ... I have granted and by this charter have 
confirmed to God and to the Church of St. Mary 
of Morgan and the monks servinor God there in 
alms common of pasture in all my land on the east 


of Neath as far as my land extends in length and 
in width both in wood and in plain with all 
easements, etc." 

Leisan son of Morgan, etc. ... 1 have given to 
the Church of St, Mary of Morgan common of pasture 
in all my land on the east of Neath [ex est parte de 

Richard de Clare Earl of Gloucester and Hereford ; 
" I have granted, etc., to the Church of Blessed Mary 
of Morgan, etc., a burgage in New Town, etc., and 
all common of pasture between Kenfig and Ogmore 
ante dated, and of 1 1 7 acres of my lordship of my 
table in Newcastle." 

An inquisition held at Cardiff in full County of 
Glamorgan, etc., ... in the reign of Edward III., 
etc., before a jury of 24, consisting of Sir Henry 
de Humfrevil, knt., Sir Edward Stradlinge, knt, Sir 
Philip Fleminge, knt, and others. They find that the 
said Gilbert de Clare, brother of the said Alienora, 
ejected the said monks of Morgan from the said 
lands, that is to say, a grange in the moor near 
Cardiff and common of pasture in Kevencribwr for 
which the said Earl delivered to the same monks 
Terries grange, Moregrange, and the pasture of 
Kevencribor, to be held in severalty. 

This Indenture made in the 34th year of Edward 
III. between Sir Richard Turberville, knt, Lord of 
Coytif and the religious men, etc., of Morgan on the 
other part Witnesseth that I the said Richard grant 
to the Abbot and Convent of Margam free pasture 
on my several pastures of the Rugge called Keven- 
cribor in the fee of Newcastle with free ingress and 


egress to the same to a certain number of cattle, 
that is to say for 50 oxen, 2P cows, 40 steers and 
heifers and a flock of sheep housed at the grange 
of Langewith, and also 60 head of cattle and a flock 
of sheep housed at Stormy Grange, etc., etc. 

The deed (T. 2067) goes on to relate the conditions 
for which the above is granted ; the conditions are not 
quoted by Sir Edward Mansell. 

On condition of their, the monks, maintaining a 
chaplain, monk or lay [by lay, secular is meant, I 
presume], to celebrate services at the Altar of St. 
Mary Magdalene in Margam Church for his soul, 
etc., the entering his name in the " Martilogium " 
among the founders, anniversary services to be 
celebrated during the Mass in the choir after his 
death, etc. 

Dated Le Coytif (Coity), ist Dec. (a.d. 1360), 34 
Edw. III. 

John Earl of Mortagne, afterwards King, to all his 
men and friends French and Eno^lish orreetinor. 

He grants and confirms by his charter to Morgan, 
son of Cradoc, for his homage and service New Castell 
of Ogmore to be held by him by a fourth part of a 
Knight's fee for all service. 

Gilbert de Clare Earl of Gloucester grants the 
whole moor between the water of Baithan as the 
water of Baithan on the west and as the river called 
Guthelendelak ^ for the east descends from Treikic 

^ Guthelendelak. I do not know this stream ; probably 
the stream flowing from Tre-y-gedd. It looks like an 
attempt to write Gelli-llyn-du, the grove of the black lake — 


as far as Hollac that they (? monks) may hold the 
said moor of us and our heirs in " perpetuam 
elemosinam," etc. 

Apparently, then, the Abbey of Margam had 
common of pasture on Cefn Cribwr, and so had 
also the burg-esses of KenfiCT. 

In Sir Richard Turberville's conditions which he 
asks of the monks in return for common of pasture 
on Cefn Cribwr is one, among others, that his name 
be entered in the " Martilogium." Abbot Gasquet 
tells us in the daily routine of monastic life, "im- 
mediately after the conclusion of the morning Mass, 
the great bell was set ringing for the daily Chapter. 
On its cessation the community left the choir and 
proceeded to the chapter-room, the juniors walking 
first ; this would be about nine o'clock in the morning. 
In the chapter-house all stood in their places till the 
entrance of the superior. If the abbot were present, 
all bowed as he passed through their ranks, and as 
he reached his seat at the upper end of the room, 
the prior and one of the seniors from the abbot's 
side of the choir came forward to kiss his hand, 
bowing to him both before and after this act of 

" Whilst the community and superior were coming 
into the Chapter, the junior appointed for the office 
of reader in the refectory stood holding before his 
breast the Martyrology, or book of the saints daily 
commemorated by the Church. When all had 
entered and taken their seats, the reader came 
forward, and placing the volume upon the lectern 
in the middle of the room, asked the blessing of the 


president in the usual form. This having been given, 
he read the portion of the Martyrology which gave 
the brief notices of the Hves of the martyrs and other 
saints commemorated on the following day. When 
mention was made of any saint whose relics were 
possessed by the house, or who was specially con- 
nected with it as patron or otherwise, the community 
removed their hoods and bowed down as a mark of 
special reverence." 

Sir Richard wished to be thus remembered as a 
patron of the Abbey. 



ONE cannot be indifferent to the doings of one's 
neighbours, and so Kenfig must have felt 
great interest when it became known that Margam 
Abbey was about to exchange Resolven, near Neath, 
for Newton and Newton Nottage, places quite near to 

Richard de Neville, Earl of Warwick, Lord Le 
Despenser, Lord of Glamorgan, Morgan and Ber- 
geveny, on the 4th May, a.d. 1452, in Cardiff Castle, 
granted— T. 262 (C. MCCLXIII)— to Thomas, Abbot 
and the Convent of Margam, the manors of Newton 
and Notesch,^ in exchange for the manor of Rosoulyn.^ 
Under seal of the Chancery. The parish of Newton 
Nottage, having an area of 3,391 '25 acres, adjoins 
Sker, Pyle, and Tythygston Lower parishes. This 
deed recalls the charter of William Earl of Gloucester, 
mentioned before, in which he gave to Richard de 
Kardif, for his services, the New-Town in Margam 
with all its appurtenances (see p. 132). It is 
interesting to note that the large district given to 
Richard de Cardiff is stated to be in Margam, so 

' Nottage ^ Resolven, near Neath. 



that Margam was in those days more extensive than 
Margam parish. Margam is perhaps the part of the 
county called Morgan, i.e., Glamorgan and Morgan. 
The charter of Robert Earl of Gloucester gfiving^ 

o o 

to the monks of Clairvaux all the lands between 
Kenfig river and the further bank of the Afan 
river does not give this tract of land the name 
Margam, but later it became confined to these 

The boundaries of the land given to Richard de 
Cardiff included the parish of Newton, part of Pyle 
parish, Sker, and a considerable part of Kenfig. How 
much is difficult to say, for the boundary from Pwll-y- 
gath to the sea I am unable to locate. I say Sker 
is included because it was not apparently excluded. 
In the dispute between Margam Abbey and Richard 
de Cardiff, you will remember that the Earl decided 
against Richard de Cardiffs claim and notifies that he 
had given Sker to Margam in exchange for their land 
at Novus Burgus, long before the said Richard had 
any land from the Earl. Seeing the deed did not 
mention that Sker had already been given, it is easy 
to understand the claim Richard de Cardiff made, as 
I have said before. 

The ancient boundaries appear to me to be on 
the east, somewhat as the parish boundary is to-day. 

It begins at the ancient ditch which ends on 
the sea-shore ; this is probably the Bwlch-y-cariad, 
and if so the present boundary begins at the same 
point as the ancient one. It then leads by Dewis- 
cumbe to the ditch from above St. Tudoc, St. Tudwg 
(Dewiscumbe I had considered to be the valley in 



which is St. David's Well, a little north of Nottage, 
but Dewiscumbe must be between the sea-shore and 
Tythegston). Then as far as Alweiscnappe ; this 
strange word I have long puzzled over, but I think 
it refers to the point reached by the boundary, 
Twmpath-y-ddaiar, the earth mound, near the 
British Camp on the south corner of Stormy 
Down, and near Ballas.^ I think it is derived 
from allwest, pasture, and cnap, a mound or a 
lump, allwest-y-cnap, i.e., the pasture of the mound, 
or, as it is in Welsh, twmpath. Then to a certain 
stone between Alweiscnappe and Bulluchesbruhe ; the 
latter, I think, means Bal-las, bruhe I cannot make 
out. Bal-las was probably pronounced Bol-las, as 
it was written in those days, so Bulluches is near 
enough for the Norman scribe. Thence it follows 
from that point (the stone is there no longer) the 
Heol-y-splot to the vale of Cornell as at present, 
but instead of continuing to the sea, it turned 
up the vale of Cornell to Danes' Vale, be- 
tween Marias and The Hall, joining the present 
boundary between Pyle and Kenfig apparently 
where it touches the road from South to North 
Cornell. From Danes' Vale it passed to Catteshole, 
Pwll-y-gath, thus departing from any present boundary. 

^ A landowner, Wronu Bil, of Kenfig, who occurs in a.d. 1219- 
1254, grants— T. 124 (C. DCCCXXXIII)— to Margam in frank 
almoign seven acres of arable land ; five of them lie on the south 
adjacent to the land of William Cole, beginning at a place called 
Balles and reaching towards Goylake, and the other two on the 
east near Roger Gramus' land beginning at Luelsgrove. Wit- 
nesses : Sir W. Luvel, and others. 


From Catteshole the boundary went direct to the sea 
along the bottom of the valley to Baeian, which is in 
sabluno. The last word should be evidently in sabtilo, 
then it would read " to Baeian which is in the sand," 
i.e. — sand-hills. The east part of Pyle parish would 
seem to be excluded ; east of the road from south 
of South Corneli to north of North Corneli. 

Richard de Cardiff owned Walton in Gloucester- 
shire. His two daughters married Bevis and Sand- 
ford, of whom the latter held Newton. These names 
are perpetuated in Bevos, near Newton, and the 
curious Sandford Well at the same place ; the well 
ebbs and flows contrary to the ebb and flow of the 
sea, so at high-water of the tide the well is empty. 
In the notice on Sker, it will be remembered Thomas 
de Sandford endowed the o-rana-e of Sker. The Earl 
added to the grant of Newton to Richard de Cardiff a 
large tract of land between the ford of Baithan (Baiden) 
and the high-road leading from Langewy, Llangewydd, 
to Trekic, Tre-y-gedd. 

The witnesses were Hawisia, "the Countess my 
wife " ; Robert de Meisi ; Symon de Sancto Laudo, 
or St. Loo,^ and many others. 

Richard Nevill, the " King-maker," Earl of Salis- 
bury and Warwick and lord of Glamorgan in right 
of his wife, who made the exchange with Margam 
Abbey of Newton Nottage for Resolven, was eldest 
son of Richard Earl of Salisbury, by Alice, daughter 
and heiress of Thomas Montacute, Earl of Salisbury. 
He married Anne, daughter and heiress of Richard 

' St. de St. Laudo, or St. Loo, owned Newton St. Loo, near 



Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, by Isabel le Despenser, 
heir of her niece Anne Beauchamp, being daughter 
and heiress of Henry Duke of Warwick. 

Richard Nevlll fell at Barnet, April, 1471 (Clark, 
" Cartae," etc.). 

Newton Nottage was in later times divided between 
the Earl of Pembroke, Richard Loughor, Esq., and 
the heir of Sir William Herbert, Knt. I again make 
use of a document of the seventeenth century, " The 
Manors of the Earl of Pembroke In the County of 

The area Is given as 1,200 acres; It Is actually 
3,391 : it goes on to state, In addition to the above 
as to the division, " that It was given, as we have 
already seen, by William Earl of Gloucester (then 
lord of Glamorgan), unto one Sir Richard Cardiffe, 
who had only one daughter, that married one Sir 
Thomas Sandford, Knt., and had issue Sir Richard 
Sandford, Knt., Lord of Newton ; but how the 
Sandfords went from the same I could not find as 
yet. There are three wells In this lordship, which 
flow and ebb twice in twenty-four hours, and at 
every time, contrary to the sea, whereupon Sir John 
Stradling, Knt, Baronet, moralized." This Is some- 
what different from what I have already stated 
about Richard de Cardiff. 

St. John's well at Newton Nottage has long been 
known to ebb and flow In sympathy with, but not 
simultaneously with, the tide. It was described and 
the movements of the water observed by H. G. 
Madan, from whose pages the following account Is 


The well is 500 yards from the shore and separated 
from it by sand dunes and a pebble-ridge. The sand 
rests on Keuper conglomerate, and this on carbo- 
niferous limestone. Between the two rocks a con- 
siderable body of water flows seaward, and bursts 
out on the foreshore. It is this water which is 
tapped in the well. The well is 13J feet deep, and 
its bottom is 8 feet above Ordnance Datum. From 
a number of hourly and half-hourly observations 
Madan ascertained that the movements of the water 
in the well were as regular as those of the tide, 
but that they lagged behind the tide almost exactly 
three hours. 

The water contains the rather high proportion 
of 27*2 parts per 100,000 of sodium chloride, but 
shows the same proportion when at its highest as 
when at its lowest level. 

The interpretation of these phenomena presents 
no serious difficulty. The water contained in the 
Keuper conglomerate and carboniferous limestone 
" is in free communication with the sea along the line 
where the conglomerate crops out below high-water 
level on the shore. 

" The tidal wave, on reaching the outcrop, is taken 
up by the water in the permeable strata and propa- 
gated landwards, but with a greatly diminished 
velocity, owing to the resistance to its motion offered 
by the solid, though porous, stratum of conglomerate. 
. . . Hence we have high- water in the well three 
hours later than high-water in the sea." ^ 

^ " Memoirs of the Geological Survey. — Water Supply," by 
A. Strahan, from notes by R. H. Tiddeman. 


The church of Newton is situated close to the 
great expanse of sand-dunes, known as Merthyr 
Mawr Warren, which reaches from Porth-cawl to 
the mouth of the Ogmore river, and deserves some 

Mr. G. E. Halliday writes: "The church consists 
of a chancel, nave, western tower, and an unusually 
large south porch, containing many good examples 
of thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth century work. 

" There seems no evidence, however, of any 
remains belonging to the twelfth century being in 
situ; although it appears to the writer that the 
bases of the fourteenth-century porch entrance-arch 
are in reality Norman capitals turned upside down, 
to suit the builders of that time. 

" The tower, to which the writer more par- 
ticularly wishes to draw attention, is a massive 
structure, in all about fifty-four feet high — twenty- 
seven feet from north to south, and twenty-two 
feet from east to west, supported at its four 
corners by six exceedingly heavy buttresses. From 
its general appearance, and from the evidence of 
the early details still remaining, there is little if 
any doubt that this portion of the building, at any 
rate, was used for defensive purposes. The range 
of eight massive corbels, projecting about two feet 
from the eastern face of the tower wall, formed in 
all probability the support for a temporary wooden 
platform ; while the splayed and moulded battlement 
coping-stones now, laid flat, would, when placed on 
their natural bed, form a moulded and weathered 
battlement coping to the early flat-roofed tower." 



Mr. Halliday shows how in all probability the 
wooden platform was arranged, and quotes from 
Viollet-le-Duc, who gives several illustrations of 
almost identical methods of outer defence adopted 
in France during mediaeval times. 

" During the fifteenth century the defensive 
character of the tower appears to have been done 
away with. The beautiful west door with crocketed 
label and pinnacles was inserted, and the roof assumed 
the present gabled form. 

" The priest's door and adjacent windows seem 
part of this rebuilding ; there is little doubt that 
the circular stone pulpit, with its very rudely-carved 
representation of the scourging of our Lord, is of the 
same period." ^ 

It seems difficult to imagine the necessity for having 
the tower of a church arranged as a place of defence, 
but it must be remembered that for a long period 
there was war to all intents and purposes between 
the Welsh of the hill country and the Normans of 
the lowlands. We know from the Margam MSS. 
that the men from Brechinioc and Seinghenydd 
frequently harried the lowlands. 

At Nottao^e is an interesting- mansion house, 
Nottage Court, formerly called Ty Mawr, or Great 
House. It was the grange, or manor-house, belonging 
to the Abbot of Margam, to which he would retire 
at times, but it was altered somewhat in Tudor 
times and restored later by the Rev. H. H. 

' " Church of St. John the Baptist," G. E. Halliday, Arch. 
Camb., April, a.d. 1904. 


Disputes frequently took place between Margam 
Abbey and Neath Abbey, and they were generally 
referred to arbitration, in accordance with the 
Cistercian rule of adjusting disputes without recourse 
to extraneous aid : arranging and settling their differ- 
ences among themselves, they refrained from taking 
their cases to the courts as far as possible. The 
following is a dispute concerning Newton. 

In T. 135 (C. DCCCCXI) we have the deed 
of arbitration by Roger, Abbot of Ryevallis, or 
Rievaulx, in co. York ; Nicholas, Abbot of Vallis 
Dei, or Vaudey, co. Lincoln ; John, Abbot of 
Kingswood, co. Wilts, in a cause between Neath 
and Margam Abbeys ; that the Abbot of Margam 
had endeavoured to supplant the Abbot of Neath 
in Noua-villa, or Newton Nottage ; that the Abbot 
of Margam is to desist from doing so ; that the 
Abbot of Neath Is to be careful in his dealings 
respecting the acquisition of that town ; that there 
is to be an amicable joint possession of the pastures 
of Neutune-dune and Corneli-dune, or a fair division, 
according to the view of the Abbots of Boxley, 
Buildwas, and Kingswood, so that each Abbot may 
have the moiety nearest his abbey, or grange. 

The unfounded claim of Neath to land and pasture 
held by Margam, by the charter of Robert Earl of 
Gloucester, and adjusted by an award ^ of the 

^ This was a settlement of a dispute, 28 May, a.d. 1208, 
between the Abbeys of Margam and Neath by arbitration of the 
Abbots of Boxley, Wardon, and Fountains. The dispute was 
as to the pastures, &c., between the Afan river and Neath and 
the head of the great Afan called Blaen-Afan, and as to 
Resolven, Neath. 


Abbots of Boxley, Warden, and Fountains, is to be 
dismissed. The text of this agreement was settled 
by John, first Abbot of Boxley, co, Kent, afterwards 
Abbot of Citeaux, at Boxley, in the presence of the 
Abbots of Boxley, Stratford- Langthorne, co. Essex, 
Vallis-Dei, and Robertsbridge, co. Sussex, before 
St. Agatha's Day, 5 Feb., a.d. 1237 for 1238. 
Four seals remain — those of the Abbots of Rievaulx, 
Vallis Dei, Kingswood, and Neath. 

Evidently there was some intriguing going on by 
both abbots, Margam trying to oust Neath from 
Newton ; on the other hand, my lord Abbot 
of Neath had apparently been somewhat un- 
scrupulous in acquiring or endeavouring to acquire 

The claim of Neath Abbey was apparently a 
renewed claim to pastures between the Afan and 
Neath rivers, which had before been arbitrated upon 
(see page 81). Two hundred and fourteen years later 
Margam exchanged Resolven for Newton Nottage, 
and so ousted Neath from Newton. In the deed 
of exchange Newton and Nottage are regarded as 
separate manors ; a deed a little later names them as 
the manor of Newton Notaysshe. 

The Newton Wake, or Mabsant, was held on the 
Decollation (Old Style), instead of the Nativity, of St. 
John Baptist. 

Old people told the Rev. H. H. Knight, he relates 
in his work on Newton, that there had been a custom 
of kindling a fire in a small circular inclosure near 
Newton by Sandford's well on Midsummer Day each 
year, and throwing a small cheese or cake across it 


and then jumping over the embers. This recalls the 
old Celtic and Scandinavian bonfires. 

As I have before remarked, Nottage Court was 
evidently the grange belonging to Margam Abbey — 
the Noche, or Noge Court, so called. A chapel 
also was attached to it, of which the site is known. 
The present building replaced the old Court in 
Elizabethan times, as its style of architecture shows. 
The tapestry in the Court was brought from 
Tewkesbury, having hung probably in the abbot's 


A TRADITION persists that the ancient town 
of Kenfig lies at the bottom of Kenfig Pool. 
I do not know the origin of this idea, but it is 
repeated in the following tale from the lolo MS. 


A peasant's son loved the daughter of the Lord 
of Clare, and she would not have him because he was 
not rich, and he went to the high-road and watched 
for the steward of the lord of the district returning 
towards the castle from collecting his lord's money, 
and he killed him and took his money, and 
showed her the coin, and the lady married him. 
He then made a mag-nificent feast and invited the 
chief men of the country to it, and they made 
themselves merry to the utmost. The second night 
the marriage took place, and when they were 
merriest a voice was heard, and they listened 
attentively, and heard " Vengeance will come ! 
Vengeance will come ! Veno;-eance will come ! " 
three times. And they asked when. " At the end 
of the ninth generation," said the voice. "There is 


no occasion for us to fear," said they ; " all of us will 
be under the earth long before that." Nevertheless, 
they lived till a descendant was born of the ninth 
generation, and another, a descendant of the man that 
was killed, seeing the arrival of that period, visited 
Cynffig, a young man, a discreet and comely young 
man ; and looking at the town and its wealth, without 
any one possessing a furrow or corner excepting the 
descendants of the murderer, and he himself still 
living, and his wife. At the crowing of the cock they 
heard a voice, "Vengeance is come! Vengeance is 
come ! Vengeance is come ! " " On whom is it 
come?" said they. "On him who slew my ancestor 
of the ninth generation." They rose in terror and 
went towards the town, and there was nothing- to be 
seen but a large lake, and in it above the surface of 
the water three chimney-tops smoking, and the smoke 
of an offensive smell. Upon the surface of the water 
the gloves of the man who had been killed floating 
towards the feet of the young man. He took them up 
and saw the name and arms of the murdered man ; 
and with the dawn there were countless voices 
praising God with heavenly songs. And thus it 

The following tale is also from the lolo MS. It is 
interesting as relating an episode in the monastery of 
Margam, Rhys, a monk, being dismissed, and also for 
the mention of Kenfig Castle. Sir Mathew Cradoc 
was steward of Margam Abbey. In the book of 
Sion Bradford, the history of Twm leuan, the son 
of Rhys, is as follows : 

leuan, the son of Rhys, was a monk in Margam, 


but he was turned out of the monastery on account of 
being a Lollard in principles. After this he married 
a nun, who was turned out of some nunnery, and they 
lived at Cynfig ; but Sir Mathew Cradock,^ of Swansea, 
followed him with the law, for something probably on 
account of his faith, until he was compelled to leave 
Cynfig, and then he took a place in Merthyr Cynog, 
in Breconshire, where he held some land. And after 
some time he came back to Glamorgan, where he 
kept a school ; he was a good poet. leuan, the son 
of Rhys, had a son called Thomas, who was Twm, the 
son of Ivan, the son of Rhys, the poet and prophet. 
He was in some office in the monastery of Margam, 
and was turned out from thence, and was imprisoned 
several times at Cynfig Castle, by Sir Mathew Cradoc, 
who at last gave him his liberty, and behaved liberally 
towards him. He held land in Marram and Llan- 
gynwyd,and many other places, until some extraordinary 
thoughts came into his mind, which occasioned his 
being imprisoned by Sir George Herbert, of Swansea, 
in Cynfig Castle. And after he regained his liberty, 
he did little more than walk about the country as 
a beggar, thrashing a little sometimes, and making 
godly songs, and prophesying many things, on which 
account he was called " Twm of the fair lies" (Twm 
Celwydd Teg). He began to prophesy before he 
was imprisoned by Sir George Herbert, and it is said 
the reason was that, after the birth of the son and 
heir of Sir George, a feast was held, and great 
rejoicing, at the christening of the child, and they shod 
the horses with silver, and many other costly things 
" Sir Mathew Cradock was steward of Margam Abbey. 


they did likewise. Twm, the son of Ivan, the son of 
Rhys, seeing this, said, " Ha ! here is parade, and 
great pride about the baptism of a child born to be 
hung by the string of his forehead-band." He was 
seized, and put in prison, in Cynfig Castle ; and the 
child was placed in the care of a nurse, who was 
ordered to watch him narrowly and carefully night 
and day ; this went on some time, when it was 
reported in the house that the nurse had the itch. Sir 
George and his lady sent for her to the hall to them, 
that they might see whether it was true or not, and 
when they saw that there was no itch upon her they 
went with her back to the chamber where the child 
was, and the first thing they saw was the child in his 
cradle, having twisted his hands under the string of 
his forehead-band, and entangled them in such a 
manner that he got choked, and died from that cause, 
or as it be said with truth, he hung himself in the 
string of his forehead -band. Then they sent in haste 
to liberate Twm, the son of Ivan, the son of Rhys, 
and to give him money. Another time he was 
thrashing in a barn, and a young lad went by, and 
addressing him as follows: "Well, Twm Celwydd 
Teg, what news have you to-day ? " " There is news 
for thee," said he. " Thou shalt die three die deaths 
before this night." " Ha ! ha ! " said the youth, 
" nobody can die more than one death," and he went 
off laughing. In the course of the day the lad went 
to the top of a great tree on the brink of a river, to 
take a kite's nest, and thrusting his hand into the 
nest he was wounded by an adder, brought by the 
kite to her young ones, as she was accustomed to do. 


This causing him to lose his hold, he fell down on a 
great branch and broke his neck, and from there into 
the river, and thus he met with three deaths. To be 
wounded by an adder, to break his neck, and to be 
drowned. Twm, the son of Ivan, the son of Rhys, 
was a good and godly man, it is said, and a good 
poet, and many songs of his composition are still 
extant in the country, and it is said he printed some 
of them ; but there are few, if any, now living that 
ever saw them. It is said he saw written in a little 
manuscript book these words : — 

" Love thy neighbour as thou wouldestlove thyself, 
and suffer for him as thou wouldest suffer for thy 
God, and for thy dearest friend, and for thyself. 
" Seek after God with all thy might, and with all thy 
mind, and with all thy understanding, and love Him 
with all thy affection, and with all thy will, and with 
all thy heart. 

" Love everything that is good, and becoming, and 
true, and just, as thou wouldest thy God, and thyself. 
" Cleave to them until thou art as much one with them 
as God is, and by doing so, thou shalt be as separate 
from every evil, and wickedness, and from all that is 
unseemly, and unbecoming, and unrighteous, and 
unjust, and from envy, fraud, and delusion, as God 
himself is. " Fear not any punishment, or pain, or 
any want, or distress, nor any suffering, even death, 
and be not hindered by them. " Covet nothing of 
the worldly goods thou seest or hearest of, or under- 
standest ; but desire the good things of God, and the 
peace of His Holy Spirit, and leave to thy God to 
provide for thee. 


" And in possessing these virtues, thou shalt have 
a right understanding of everything in the world, and 
of right understanding, a right knowledge, and of 
right knowledge, the comprehension of all that was, 
and is, and shall be ; and of that knowledge inspira- 
tion from God, and the power of prophecy, and then 
shalt thou understand and show all that is to come in 
the world till the day of doom, for the perception of 
God shall be in thee." 

After reading this, he gave himself up to be a very 
goodly man, and uttered many prophecies, and would 
not possess any property in the world excepting what 
was voluntarily bestowed for the work he did, which 
was chiefly thrashing corn. 



THE Roman Highway, the Via Julia Maritima, 
commencing on the south-east of the united 
parishes of Pyle and Kenfig — for it was from the 
east the Romans made their way from Caerleon, or as 
they named it, Isca Silurum — passes through them 
for a distance of close upon four miles before it 
reaches the northern limit of the borough at the 
milliary stone, Pumpeius Carantorius. The commence- 
ment of the Via Julia in Pyle parish is on Stormy 
Down, near an ancient British camp, and near the 
farm Bal-las, to which reference has been made 
before. This ancient camp is situated on the edge of 
the down at an altitude of a little above 300 feet above 
sea-level ; the Roman road enters the parish at an 
altitude of 329 feet, and this is at the point at which 
the diversion of the main road from the old Roman 
highway, on account of the trouble caused by the 
sand invasion, commenced. About a mile and half 
away to the north is the British camp on the western 
end of Cefn Cribwr ; proud of its superior elevation, 

for it stands 426 feet above sea-level, and also by 




reason of the title of castle which it gained in early 
times. I had not realised, until quite recently, what 
a commanding aspect this 
ancient stronghold presents for 
many miles around. It seems 
imposing, as you look at it 
from the Groes-y-dadl, for it 
rises from the surrounding 
lands like a huge kopje, with 
level top, and 326 feet above 
you. Again it seems to 
frown on smiling, peaceful 
Ty-Tanglwys, for it stands 
above it quite as high as it 
is above the cross of strife. 
No more the cross of quarrel, 
the whole delightful scene, 
bathed in the golden sun- 
shine, seems far from aught 
but "smooth-faced peace." 
The day when Roman cohorts 
with burnished helmet, short 
sword, and glittering shield, 
passed gladly from the cold 
of Stormy Down into the 
warm shelter of Cornell Vale 
on their way to Leucarum 
(Loughor, as it is misspelt 
to-day), has long passed into 

the dim mists of ages, but the old camp still looks 

down and bids us remember long and bitter struggles. 

From Morfa Mawr, four and a half miles away to 

wmmi*mtt ^mHf; \ X\Tma i mm mn.. i »0 k 

Stone of Pumpeius 


the west on the seashore, the old castle looks more 
imposing still, for it is 400 feet above you, in solitary 
dignity. And as I looked at it, I came to wonder 
why it never had occurred to me before that the old 
stronghold must have given its name to the district 
it so proudly dominates. And then, as if a message 
from the distant past came to me, I knew it had, for 
it was Pill, a fortress, a place of defence. And this is 
the meaning of Pyle or Pill or Pyll, as it has been 
variously spelled, and much thought and labour have 
I bestowed upon it. 

Away to the north-west, three miles and a half, 
where the hills curve round and bulge out nearer to 
the main road and the sea, forming from the camp on 
Stormy Down an amphitheatre, on one side of the 
entrance to Cwm Maelwg stands Mynydd Castell, a 
British camp.^ On the other side, a little further 
west than the entrance to the valley stands another 
British camp, now called the Halfmoon ; perhaps 
because it has no further use than for pleasing 
lovers longing for the honeymoon at the full. 
It is situated at 500 feet above sea-level. Now 
winding up through this charming valley is a road 
which was the Roman vicinal way to reach the 
mountain-lands. And on these lonely mountain-tops 
much war had taken place in days gone by, for British 
and Roman camps and Danish too are frequent. 

A Roman halting-camp stands at the very top of 
Cwm Kenfig near Rhyd Blaen-y-Cwm,^ and half a 
mile north-east of it is a Roman camp, having 

' Near Margam Park Mansion. 
2 The ford of the top of the valley. 


a large British, post- Roman camp circling round it. 
It is known as y Bwlwarcau. Just half a mile to 
the north from the halting-camp, and nearly half a 
mile north-west from the Bwlwarcau, stands Bodvoc's 
sepulchral stone — so old that the monks of Margam 
called it, eight hundred years ago, the Maen Llwyd, 
the venerable stone. 

Around this great open plain, if I may roughly so 
describe it, stand, studded with entrenchments, the 
rounded hills, whereon the Romans found such 
stubborn gallant foes in a circle from the camp at 
Stormy to the one at Grugwallt. In this great open 
space stand the ruins of the Monastery of Margam. 

And now we shall see what took place in this great 
open land sixteen hundred years ago.^ 

When Caradoc, the son of Bran, the son of Llyr 
Llediaith, was warring with the Romans, and slaughter- 
ing them terribly, some of those who had escaped 
told their Emperor that there was neither chance nor 
hope of overcoming Caradoc, the son of Bran, as 
long as the woods and thickets remained in the 
territories of Caradoc and his Cymry, viz., in the 
dominion of Essyllwg, Siluria — inasmuch as, they said, 
that in the woods and forests they conceal themselves 
like wild beasts, and it is impossible to obtain a sight 
or a glance of them, so that they come upon us 
Caesarians unawares, as numerous as bees out of a 
hive in a long, hot summer day, and slaughter us in 
heaps. The Emperor answered, '* By my great 

^ This account, taken from the lolo MS., is considered by 
some to be fabulous ; it is as probable as narratives of other 
events which have come down to us from those far-off times. 


name and destiny the woods in the territory of 
Caradoc and his Cymry shall not long stand. I will 
despatch to that territory one hundred legions of my 
best warriors with fire instead of weapons, and I will 
set on fire all the woods in the territories of Caradoc." 
Caradoc and his men hearing these words said, "It 
is a small thing for us to defend our country, other- 
wise than through strength of body and heart : there- 
fore let us burn our woods, as broad and as far as 
there is a leaf of their growth, so that there may not 
be found a sprig to hang a flea from the shore of 
Severn to the River Towy, as broad and as long as 
the territories of Siluria extend. Then let us invite 
the Csesarians to our country and meet their army 
against army upon the plain and open ground, the 
same as we did on the covert ground and on the 

Then they burned all the woods from the shore of 
the Severn to the extremities of the Vale of Towy, 
as far as the territories of Caradoc and his Cymry 
extended, without leaving a sprig upon which the 
smallest gnat could alight, to rest from the heat on a 
long summer day. Then they sent messengers to 
the Emperor of Rome and explained the object of 
their mission. They were the men of Caradoc who 
would greatly prefer tranquillity to war, more gladly 
would they feed milch kine and wool-bearing sheep 
than war-horses ; more desirable to them the enter- 
tainment of their friends than slauQrhterinor their 
enemies. Then they told the Emperor their lands 
were no longer in thicket, there was no need for his 
wild-fire for there was no work for it upon the face of 


Wales. " Let thy men meet us army to army on open 
ground ; two foreigners for one Cymro on plain land, 
and try to win back the honour thou hast lost in the 
wilds; Caradoc himself addresses thee." 

The Emperor was annoyed at the protection the 
Cymry received from him, by the privilege of ambas- 
sadors from a foreign country, when he understood it 
was no other than Caradoc who addressed him. 

The Romans brought their armies into the field 
wheresoever the wind blew from the four quarters of 
the world. And Caradoc and his Cymry came against 
them valiantly, slaying them in heaps. And equal 
were Caradoc and his Cymry, on open ground, to 
what they before were found in the woods. 

After these wars, when so many of the Caesarians 
had been killed, their bones, which had been left by 
the wolves, and dogs, and ravens, like a white sheet 
of snow, in many places covering the face of the 
earth ; and in the Maesmawr ^ in Wales, namely, the 
country where now is the monastery of Margam, 
were found the greatest quantity of bones, on account 
of the great battle on the open ground, which was 
fought with the Romans, who were there slain. 

Manawyddan, son of Llyr, caused the bones to be 
collected in one heap, and also those were brought 
from other parts of his dominion ; thus it came to 
his mind to form a prison of the bones in which to 
confine those taken prisoners in war. And a large 
edifice was constructed, with strong walls, of those 
bones, mixed with lime. This was called the prison 
of Oeth and Annoeth, open and concealed, in memo- 

' Maesmawr — great field. 


rial of what the Cymry and Caradoc had done for 
their country and race, as well In the open ground 
as in the covert.^ 

The Csesarians destroyed the prison, but it was 
always re-built ; however, in course of time the bones 
became rotten, and the prison was taken down and the 
bones spread over the fields, which afterwards 
yielded great crops of wheat and barley. 

Right over Brombil, on Margam Mountain, is a cross 
of raised earth and grass-grown, a conspicuous object 
when looked at from higher ground ; it measures right 
across each arm one hundred and thirty feet. It was 
marked on the Ordnance Survey as Cross on site of 
Cairn. I asked the Director of the Survey whence 
the authority for this statement was obtained, and he 
said the statement was made by an aged man in this 
district. I then pointed out the remote period the 
cross would date from, and the " Site of Cairn " was 
abandoned. The Cross is known, traditionally, in the 
district of Margam, as the Soldiers' Grave. I believe 
the Cross marks the site of the prison of Oeth and 
Annoeth, and was put there many ages ago to con- 
secrate the spot where the bones of so many soldiers 
had been gathered together. It evidently marks the 
site of some important event which can only be 

The track-way, from Bodvoc's last resting-place 
near the Halting Camp, crosses the mountains in a 
northerly direction, part of the roadway on Margam 
Mountain being a lane named Heol-y-Moch- on the 

^ The account of Caradoc (in substance) from the lolo MS. 
2 Pig's lane. 


boundary of Margam parish. The road is either a 
British track or a Roman road, probably the latter, 
for at one point it is pitched or paved and is raised 
above the land on either side. On the way, as the 
road dips down from Heol-y-Moch and in the hollow, 
is the Carreg Bica,^ or pointed stone, evidently a 
direction mark necessary in the dense mists which 
so often cover the mountain-tops like a pall, impene- 
trable and bewildering. The road, a little way 
north of the Carreg Bica, climbs up on to a great 
hill with precipitous side on the south. The hill 


N.E. 39° Mag. 

^li-^ — ^ff 


.2ft. 6 in.. 


= J? 

ON oj 00 



evidently marks the scene of fierce struggles, for it is 
called the Tor-y-Cymerau — the mount of conflicts. It 
is known locally as Tor-y-Cymry, but this is clearly 
wrong, as we find it phonetically spelled by the 
monastic scribe in the Margam MSS. as Torkemereu 
or Torkemerev, the " v " standing for " u," and Toyke- 

^ Carreg Bica : I believe this to be Middlecrosse, referred 
to in the Margam MSS. The pointed-stone ; the name 
originally was probably pointing-stone. The two stones are not 
pointed- The stone (a) points in the direction of the track way 
as it climbs the hill Tor-y-Cymmerau after passing out of the 
valley between it and the Carreg Bica. 


merev; Toy being probably an error of the MSS. for 
Tor. I Cymer, or Cymmer, is an obsolete word for con- 
flict. The Ordnance Survey has it " Rhiw Tor-y- 
Cymry, Site of Battle." To the west, a little north of 
west, three-quarters of a mile is a tumulus called Pen 
Dysgwylfa, the head or top of the watching-place : 
it stands 1,191 feet above sea-level, and is the 
highest point in the parish of Margam. The Rhiw 
is the steep roadway leading up the side of the 

" The distances on the Roman roads were made 
known to the traveller by milestones, usually called 
inilliaria, but sometimes lapides. The former term 
was derived from the length of the Roman mile, which 
consisted of 1,000 paces {^nille passuu77t)\ the latter 
was used in a more familiar sense, as may be gathered 
from the fact that we find the phrase ad tertium 
lapidem or ad tertium used to express the distance 
of three miles from Rome. And a station on the 
south coast, between Bittern (Clausentum), near 
Southampton, and Richborough (Rutupiae), called 
Ad Decimum, to denote it being ten miles from 
Chichester (Regnum)."- 

The length of the Roman mile must be considered a 
moot point. Starting with the Pumpeius Carantorius 
milliary stone on the north boundary of Kenfig 
borough and proceeding southward, the next stone we 
would come to in the borough is the Groes-y-Gryn 
which formerly stood on the southern boundary at 
Corneli (it is called a cross, but probably no cross ever 

' Tor is a belly, a bulge, a boss, a belly-like hill. 

= " Our Roman Highways," by Forbes and Burmester. 


stood there). I believe this to have been a 
milliarium, or Roman milestone, but the two are 
two and a quarter miles apart. Starting again from 
the Pumpeius Carantorius Stone and proceeding north, 
we come to the site of a milliarium which formerly 
stood in the field near the old turnpike gate at 
Margam at Cefn Gwrgan lane, but on the opposite 
side. This stone, now in Margam Church, bears 
on it the inscription maximino invicto. The full 
inscription is : — 








Colonel Francis reads it : — 





This stone was 2 J miles from the Pumpeius Stone. A 
third stone stood by the side of the tramway leading 
to Llewelyn's Quay on the sea side of the main road. 
This stone was a little under two miles from the 
Maximin Stone, but I am of opinion that this stone 
had been removed from its proper position on the 
main road to where it stood recently, so that probably 
it stood two miles from the Maximin Stone. The 
distance of roughly two miles in these cases is some- 


what curioifs, and I can only think that the distance 
of two miles was divided by a milliary stone which, 
probably unimportant or incorporated in a wall, has 
escaped notice, or it may have been removed. 

On the back of the Maximinus Invictus Stone is an 
inscription in debased Roman capitals with minuscule 


formula hie jacit — " here lies " (the body of) — shows 
that Cantusus was a Christian. The Latinity is 
defective, for it may read, " Here lies Cantusus, whose 
father was Paulinus," or " Here lies Cantusus, the father 
of Paulinus," the genitive i being confused with the 
nominative us. This with the Bodvoc Stone gives 
us two Roman, or Roman- British, Christian sepul- 
chral inscriptions in the parish of Margam. 

The stone mentioned above as standing by the 
siding tramway, described on the Ordnance Survey 
as a milliary stone, is, I think, more likely to have 
been a gravestone from the ancient chapel of 
St. Thomas close by. It is a round-headed stone 
with an incised wheel with six spokes, and on the 
reverse side a cross with the upper part in a circle 
and the centre line prolonged and ending with the 
half-circle of an anchor. 

A milliary stone was discovered several years ago 
on the western side of the new cut, which was made 
in A.D. 1836 to divert the water of the Afan river from 
its old outlet. It had evidently served as a grave- 
stone in the ancient burial-ground known as Platch 
yr Eglwys,^ but where it was brought from 

^ Platch yr Eglwys — platch means a plot of ground attached 
to the church. 


nothing is known. The probability is, at least so 
it seems to me, that the stone was placed on the high- 
way in or near Aberavon before the town existed. 
In years after, some hundreds probably, as buildings 
came to be erected on the highway to form the High 
Street, the stone had to be removed, and some person 
thought it would make a fine headstone, and so used 
it in the ancient chapel burying-ground. The stone, 
the Rev. H. H. Knight records, was brought to 
Newton Nottao-e after being- used as ballast in a 
pilot boat. 

If I am right in thinking the position of this milliary 
stone was in Aberavon, then its distance from the 
Maximimus Invictus Stone at Cefn Gwrgan would be 
about two to 2\ miles, or about the same as between 
the others. The inscription is, according to the Rev. 
H. H. Knight: 


Gordian the Third it is inscribed to. He was 
Emperor for six years and was treacherously put 
to death a.d. 244. 

Colonel G. F. Francis reads the inscription on 
one side as — 



There are indistinct letters on the other side, as 
well as the following- : 


This inscription was to Diocletian. 

Another Roman milliary stone was found near Pyle, 
and it is to be regretted that no record can be found 
as to its exact position. It is now in the Royal 
Institution, Swansea. Colonel Francis gives the 
inscription as — 






"The name of Victorinus recording one of the thirty 
tyrants slain a.u.c. 1019. A number of coins of 
Victorinus were found at Gwindy, near Llansamlet, in 
June, 1835 (Dillwyn's " Swansea," p. 56 ; Numism. II. 
i. 132). It was probably erected by the Legion which 
happened to be at Boverton at the time of the 
usurpation of Victorinus in Gaul (a.d. 265) in the 
time of Gallienus, whose inscriptions are of the greatest 
rarity and interest." ^ 

' Westwood's " Lapidarium Walliae." 


Westwood says the Pumpeius Stone bears the local 
name of " Bedd Morgan Morganwg," the " Sepulchre 
of Morgan Morganwg." 

The late Mr. Leman wrote on the Roman mile : 
" Nothing can be clearer than that the Roman miles 
were not always of the same length, but differed from 
each other like our computed ones, or like the leagues 
in France ; for on measuring a space of ground where 
the country is perfectly level, the Roman miles differ 
but little from our present measured ones, but are 
infinitely longer than ours where the iter passes 
over a mountainous country ; for which reason I 
cannot help thinking that they calculated the dis- 
tance between their several stations by 'horizontal 

Now, taking the Roman miles as roughly approxi- 
mating to ours, the missing milliary stone between 
Pumpeius and Groes-y-Gryn would be between Pont 
Felin Newydd and the railway arch, so it is probably 
covered up in the sand. 

Northwards of Pumpeius the missing stone would 
be near the ruins of Margam Abbey, for the road 
then passed from Beggar's Bush around by the 
Abbey and out by the present post-office. One 
can well understand a stone at this point would be 
in the way of building or road improvement. 

Between the Maximinus Invictus Stone at Cefn 
Gwrgan and the stone I believe to have stood by 
the roadside in Aberavon, midway would be in 
Taibach. I think its position is approximately given 
us by the name of the field under Underbill and 
which once belonged to it, Cae Groes. It appears 


to me that these milliary stones came to be called 
crosses by the people ; thus, Groes-y-Gryn at Cornell, 
I believe was only a plain stone stood there. The 
Maximinus Invictus Stone at Cefn Gwrgan repre- 
sented, I believe, what was known as Brombil's 
Cross ; but it was not a cross. Therefore I conclude 
the field in Taibach abutting on the main road was 
called Cae Groes from the Roman milliary stone 
which probably stood there. 

The following is an extract from a curious letter 
relating to the Pumpeius Carantorius Stone. It is 
from Francis Godwin, Bishop of Llandaff, to Camden, 
the antiquary (Cotton MS., Julius F. VI., F. 297), 
July 14, 1603— 

"... Since my last letter, hauyng trauayled 
through Glamorgan Shyre I mett with a monument 
of right venerable antiquity which I can not but 
impart unto you. It is a hard stone of some 4 foote 
long (as I remember) about d (.'* demi) a foote thick 
and happily one foote high (? wide). Upon ye 
upmost edge of it are written these characters [I 
presume the stone was prone at that time, so the 
one " foote " hisfh would be xVAiX. and also the state- 
ment that the inscription was on the upmost edge] : 


" Our Welchmen wyll needes perswade me y' they 
are to be read thus ' Pimp bis an car an topius,' 
so altering y" twoo first words, and adding y*" 3d 


which they assure them selves to be worne out, 
although there be no signe of any. And not with 
standing thys alteration, rather by tradition than 
y' y"^ moderne interpretation beareth it, they deliver 
it signifyeth, ' y^ 5 fingers of our owne freindes kins- 
folks have over throwne or slayne us.' More, they 
affirme it to be y" monument of Morgan of whose 
do ... y^ whole country is thought to receave hys 
name in deade it is with in one little myle of y*" abbey 
of (Mar) gam where Sir Tho. Maunsell now dwelleth. 
Viz . . . nard, neere Kenfig in y^ very high way. 
The ... a Roman antiquity . . . topp of a high 
mountaine I take order to have it copyed ; [he refers 
to the Bodvoc stone], which done I wyll also impart 
it unto you, allwayes with a protestation y* my self 
sawe it not. As for thys & y*" rest ' Ipse vidi & 
quam potui accuratissime ad archetypi exemplar 
descripsi ' . . . 

** Your very lo. & assured fr. 

" Fr. Landaven." 

There are two crosses at Margam placed in the 
church for safe keeping, the Cross of Ilquici and the 
Cross of I lei ; the two formed a bridge across the 
brook at Cwrt-y-defaid many years ago. The inscrip- 
tion, much defaced, on the Ilquici Stone, as far as can 
be made out, is — 

petri ilquici 


ef chant 



On the Ilci Stone — 

ilci. Fecit 
hanc cruce 
m. in nomin 
e. di fummi. 

" Ilci fecit hanc crucem in nomine dei summi " (" Ilci 
made the cross in the name of the Supreme God"). 

The great sculptured stone, the Cross of Ilquici, 
is 6 feet high, 3 feet broad, and i foot thick, and 
is ornamented on the upper part of both sides with 
a large plain wheel-cross with eight spokes and a 
raised boss in the centre, the spaces around which 
are filled in with irregular incised lines. On the back 
the lower part has the outlines of a plain cross. 

The Ilci Stone is similar, being 5^ feet high, 2 feet 
wide in the middle, and 34 inches wide at the top, 
1 1 to 5 inches thick. The upper part is occupied by 
a plain wheel-cross with eight spokes. 

Westwood says the letters are minuscules of a more 
ancient form than those of Grutne ^ and Brancuf,^ 
which latter he considers to be not earlier than the 
ninth, or later than the tenth, century. 

Dr. John Jones ("Hist, of Wales," p. 331) states 
that the Ilquici Cross was dedicated to the Trinity by 
Lord Rhys ab Gryffydd, and that the Ilci Cross was 
erected by Alice, daughter of Richard de Clare, Earl of 
Gloucester, and wife of Cadwaladr ab Gryffydd ab 
Cynan, about a.d. 1172. From the Abbey MSS. we 
find there was a Groes Gruffith (so it is spelled) on 

^ At Margam. = At Baglan. 


the roadside which leads from Rhyd Blaen-y-Cwm to 
Ton Grugos, probably on the west side of Moel Ton 
Mawr. And from the same source that there was 
a cross called Kananescros (Cynan's Cross) on the 
mountain between the waters of Kenefeg and Baythan 
(the latter is now Nant Craig yr Aber),^ and near the 
highway leading to Blaen Kenfig. The cross would 
be, I think, about south-west from Gilfach Uchaf, on 
the roadside leading to Rh;^d Blaen-y-Cwm. I find 
this in a grant by Morgan, son of Owein, to Margam 
Abbey of all his land of Heuedhaloc, Hafodheulog. 

Dr. Jones could know nothing of there having been 
a Groes Gruffydd or a Groes Cynan. It is quite 
possible these stones may have been on the moun- 
tains and in the position I have assigned them, but 
from their date they cannot have been put up by 
Lord Rhys ab Gryffydd or Alice, daughter of 
Richard de Clare. 

I have said before, the ancient Roman road, "the 
great high-way," as Leland terms it, runs through 
the whole of Pyle and Kenfig, and through Higher 
Kenfig, in Margam parish ; the road in the latter is 
known as Heol-troad-dwr — the road of the turning of 

' I think this is a corruption of Craig-y-Abbat ; colloquially it 
is known as Craig-yr-apper. In Morgan's deed the brook is 
called Baythan, Baiden, and it flows past a farm called Aber 
Baiden. In the Margam MSS. is a warrant by Sir Ed. Mansell 
to his steward, David Bennett, to make a lease to Margaret 
David, wife of Robert Thomas Robert, and two others, of a 
parcel of waste lands on Margam Mountain, lately enclosed — 
five acres — bounded by the wood called Craig-yr-Abot on the 
east and the highway from Llangonoyd Church on the south. 
This I believe to refer to what is now called Craig-yr-Aber, 
which seems to me to be meaningless. 


the water. ^ I have no doubt the real name is Heol- 
y-Troedwyr — the road of the footmen, or infantry ; but 
in the course of long years, from a.d. 412, when the 
Romans left this land, the name, or meaning, rather, 
became lost in the mists of time. But how did it 
become to be called Heol-troad-dwr ? In this way : 
before the abbey was erected, the stream from the 
valleys Cwm Maelwg and Cwm Traherne went direct 
to the moors, probably in the line of Smith's Lane 
and near Ty'n-y-Caeau, and so to the sea by the 
estuary, before the sea-walls were made. A fulling 
mill was erected by the monks at Cwrt-y-defaid, 
"Sheppes Mill" as it is called in the Abbey deeds, 
from its purpose — the production of the woollen 
material for the monks' clothing ; so the stream had 
to be diverted and taken by a culvert under the 
Abbey grounds and by an artificial cut at a level suit- 
able for the stream to be utilised for the " Sheppes " 
Mill. It was continued past Eglwysnunyd and Kenfig 
farms, roughly parallel with the roadway, crossing it 
eventually at the modern Pont Bwrlac, near Ty'n 
y-Seler, and falling into the Kenfig river near the 
castle, a total distance of 2\ miles, all in an arti- 
ficial stream-bed. The turning of this stream along 
the roadway, and a lingering reluctance in the old 
name to pass completely away, caused people to call 
it Heol-troad-dwr — the road of the turning of the 
water — a name, so to speak, born of the ancient name 
Heol-y-troedwyr, At first the leat would probably 
only be taken as far as Cwrt-y-defaid, just where 
Water Street begins, and later the waterway was 
^ Called in English, Water Street. 


extended for the use of Eglwysnynyd and Kenfig 

We have already seen how Margam in ancient 
times comprised a much larger area than it does 
to-day ; probably it embraced the whole of the lands 
retained by Sir Robert Fitzhamon in this neigh- 
bourhood. I endeavour to show in the plan the 
boundaries of ancient Margam, which included in its 
area Kenfig, Pyle, Newton Nottage, Sker, and Mar- 
gam of to-day, and probably Tythegston, or part of it. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us "that in very early 
times the Oueen of Britain, Cordeilla, dausfhter of 
Levi, King of Britain, began to meet with disturb- 
ances from the two sons of her sisters, whereof one, 
named Margan, was born to Maglaunus, and the 
other, named Cunedagius, to Hennius. These, in- 
censed to see Britain subject to a woman, raised a 
rebellion against the queen ; several battles were 
fought, and Cordeilla was captured and put in 
prison, where for grief she killed herself. After this 
they divided the island between them ; from H umber 
northward to Caithness fell to Margan, the other 
part Cunedagius's share. At the end of two years 
Margan began to think he should govern the whole 
island, his due by right of birth. He marched an 
army through Cunedagius's country and began to 
burn all before him. Cunedagius, however, met him 
and put him and his army to flight, till at last Margan 
was killed in a town of Cambria, which has been 
called Margan to this day. At this time Rome was 
built by Romulus and Remus, about the year before 
Christ 753." 



extended for the use of Eglwysnynyd and Kenfig 

We have already seen how Margam in ancient 
times comprised a much larger area than it does 
to-day ; probably it embraced the whole of the lands 
retained by Sir Robert Fitzhamon in this neigh- 
bourhood. I endeavour to show in the plan the 
boundaries of ancient Margam, which included in its 
area Kenfig, Pyle, Newton Nottage, Sker, and Mar- 
gam of to-day, and probably Tythegston, or part of it. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us "that in very early 
times the Queen of Britain, Cordeilla, daughter of 
Levi, King of Britain, began to meet with disturb- 
ances from the two sons of her sisters, whereof one, 
named Margan, was born to Maglaunus, and the 
other, named Cunedagius, to Hennius. These, in- 
censed to see Britain subject to a woman, raised a 
rebellion against the queen ; several battles were 
fought, and Cordeilla was captured and put in 
prison, where for grief she killed herself. After this 
they divided the island between them ; from H umber 
northward to Caithness fell to Margan, the other 
part Cunedagius's share. At the end of two years 
Margan began to think he should govern the whole 
island, his due by right of birth. He marched an 
army through Cunedagius's country and began to 
burn all before him. Cunedagius, however, met him 
and put him and his army to flight, till at last Margan 
was killed in a town of Cambria, which has been 
called Margan to this day. At this time Rome was 
built by Romulus and Remus, about the year before 
Christ 753." 


lolo Morganwg's copy of Llywelyn Sion's' tran- 
script, written probably about a.d, 1580, states that 
Morgan Mwynfawr was King of Glamorgan, and 
gave his name to the country ; he was a good, valiant, 
and wise king. He erected a Court at Margan, a 
place which he raised to a bishoprick ; which retained 
that distinction during the lives of five bishops, when 
it became united to Llandaff 

The following list of Bishops of Glamorgan, alias 
Kenfigge, from lolo's papers probably include the five 
referred to. I cannot account for Glamorgan alias 

The bishops are — 

1. Morgan, the son of Adras, Bishop and King. 

2. Ystyphan. 

3. Cattwg. 

4. I ago. 

5. Cawan. 

6. Tyfodwg. 

7. Cyfelach. 

8. Mabon. 

See " Liber Land.," p. 625. But it does not 
appear that they ever ranked higher than Chore- 
piscopi, if all of them even attained that dignity. 
Margam, originally Morgan (see Williams's " Mon."), 
as well as Glamorgan, is said, with apparent reason, 
to have derived its name from Morgan Mwynfawr ; 
and the designation city, conferred on all sees of 
bishops, is applied to it by former writers. (This, 
of course, refers to Margam, and not the district of 

' Sir Edward Mansel mentions Llywelyn Sion as Llywelyn 
John of Llangewydd. 



Margam). In one of the Prefaces to "Cyfrinach y 
Beirdd," a work of surpassing erudition on Welsh 
Prosody, the compilation of that treatise, from old 
authors, is thus noticed : " Ag Edward Dafydd 
Ddiiias Margam yn M organ wg ai trefnodd, and 
Edward Dafydd of the city of Margam in Glamor- 
gan, arranged it." ^ 

So Kenfig, having been a bishopric, was equally 
entitled to be called a city. 

Now we are drawing to a close of the early history 
of Kenfig. The Abbey of Margam is about to fall 
and its property to be sold ; the old order of things 
is about to pass away for ever. 

One of the latest deeds granted by the Abbey is 
a lease by David Abbot, and convent therein, to 
Lewis ap Thomas ap Howell, and Jankyn his son, of 
the Grange of Nochecourt (Nottage Court) for 99 
years at a yearly rent of 30 crannocs of barley and 
30 crannocs of oats, with allowance of timber for 
building houses on the site, &c. 

Dated in the Chapter-house, Margam, 28 March, 
A.D. 1509. 

This deed proves that the house, Nottage Court, 
was a grange belonging to Margam Abbey. 

Very little remains to show what Kenfig was like 
under the rule of the lords of Glamorgan, and but 
little, other than deeds, to show the connection between 
Kenfig and the powerful Abbey. The old church, 
about which so much quarrelling took place, exists 
no longer, and all we have of ancient times are the 
churches of St. Mary Magdalene and St. James's, 

^ lolo MS. 


Pyle. True, there is a charming lane, part of the 
Roman highway, which leads from near Mawdlam, 
after passing the Groes-y-dadl, to Cornell, which 
remains as it was in early times ; a cart or carriage 
fits it so that nothing could be passed. It is pretty, 
and should be visited before it becomes widened and 

I have nothing to say of the modern history of 
Kenfig, except as to the document closing the career 
of Kenfig as a borough town. I leave that to another 
pen ; it has no charm for me. 




YOU will, I fear, think I have brought Margam 
Abbey very much into these pages ; but if you 
think of it, I could only get at Kenfig's early years 
through the monastic deeds. 

The original document, T. 359 (C. MCCCXLIV), 
is still extant which records the sale of the abbey, the 
church, bell-tower, cemetery, water-mill, the Afan 
fishery, the granges called Le Newe Graunge, Cwrt 
Newydd, Le Upper Graunge, Noge Court Graunge, 
Nottage Court, and White Cross Graunge, Groes 
Wen farm, the land called Southwose, St. Michael's 
Graunge, Langlond, Portland, appurtenances in Ken- 
fegge, Tanglwst Graunge, Langewithe Graunge, 
Stormy Graunge, coal-mine in Kevencrebur, Brom- 
bell, tithes in Penvey, etc., to Sir Rice Manxell, 
Knt., to be held as the last Abbot Lodowicus Thomas 
held them for the twentieth part of a knight's fee. 
Rent for Llangewydd Grange and the tithes of Pen- 
vey 26s. lojd., and for the site of the Abbey, &c., 
27s. 5Jd., the sum paid was ^938 6s. 8d. This would 

probably be worth, in to-day's money, about ^14,000. 



Dated at Westminster, 22 June, a.d. 1540, 36 Hen. 

A second sale to Sir Rice Manxell, T. 362 
(C. MCCCLI), for ;^642 9s. 8d., was of the manors 
of Horgro, alias Horgrove, and Pylle,^ alias Pyle, 
formerly belonging to the dissolved Abbey, together 
with various lands, mills, etc., in Margam, and 
in Marcrosse and Pylle, alias Pyle. 

Dated at Terlying [Terling, Co. Essex], 5 Aug., 
A.D. 1543. The manor of Pyle passed into Sir 
Rice's hands. In a.d. 1557 Sir Rice purchased 

Sir Rice further bought the demesne of Hawode-y- 
Porthe, Hafod-y-porth, the manor of Kenfyge and 
the manor of Tethegistoo, Tythegstone, and Seynt 
Mychaelles Mill in the parish of Margam, lands in 
Kenfige, etc., for ;^678 is. 7d., or about ;^ 10,000 of 
our money. 

Dated Hampton Court, 28 Aug., a.d. 1546, 
38 Henry VIII. 

The manor of Kenfig, as I have remarked else- 
where, did not pass into the hands of Sir Rice. The 
King, later, accepted from Sir Rice ^300 in lieu of 
^642 9s. 8d. due for the first purchase. 

' Pyle is called Marcross and Pylle, alias Pyle. Margam 
Abbey owned a grange called Marcrosberwes, or Marcross 
burrows. I think the farm must have been on the edge of the 
sand dunes in Pyle parish, the part reaching towards Sker. 


The End. 
Sic transit gloria mundi. 

On the 9th of September, 1886, a notice headed 
" Kenfig" — a dry, unsympathetic notice — was sent to 
the Constable of the Castle, Portreeve, and Burgesses 
of Kenfig, in the County of Glamorgan, dissolving the 
ancient Corporation. Trustees are to be appointed to 
manage the property of the Burgesses. They are 
twelve in number, and ' shall be called the Trustees 
of the Kenfig Corporation Property.' Four to be 
appointed by the persons whose names shall be on 
the Burgesses' Roll ; foUr by the Rural Sanitary 
Authority Bridgend and Cowbridge Union ; four by 
the Margam Local Board. 

The Trustees shall stand possessed of the interest 
of the Corporation in Kenfig Common, referred to 
in the Schedule to the scheme. Upon trust as 
follows ; that is to say : — 

I. To permit the persons whose names shall be 
on the Burgesses' Roll as Burgesses or Burgesses' 
Widows, who now have, or as Burgesses' Sons or 
Widows who hereafter acquire, right of pasture and 
of cutting fern on the said Common, to exercise and 
enjoy the rights aforesaid as fully and effectually, 
and for such time, and in such manner as he or she, 
by any Statute, charter, byelaw, or custom of the 
Corporation in force at the time of passing the 
Municipal Corporation Act, 1883, might or could 
have had, acquired, or enjoyed, in case that Act 
had not been passed. 


2. upon the extinction of the aforesaid rights of 
all of the said Burgesses and Burgesses' Sons and 
Widows to allow all the inhabitant householders of 
the said place of Kenfig to exercise such rights. 

3. Provides that if previous to the extinction of 
the said rights the number entitled to enjoy the 
said rights shall fall below the number of persons 
so entitled on the formation of the Burgesses' Roll, 
then the rights of pasture and cutting fern may be 
let at the best rent they can obtain, etc. The 
Trustees shall stand possessed of the income 
derived from the property, including rents received 
by the letting of rights on Kenfig Common, also 
any fines, fees, or sums of money paid to them 
subject to Manorial rents. 

Upon trust to pay, etc. 

1. In payment of interest, salaries, and other 
lawful expense and cost of administration of the 

2. In recompensing existing Officers of the 
Corporation who, by reason of the dissolution of 
the Corporation, have been deprived of any emolu- 
ment of pecuniary profit, etc. 

3. In payment annually of iis. to each of the 
Burgesses or Burgesses' Sons or Widows who repre- 
sent the Burgesses who were the original holders of 
parcels of the Common called Gwaunycimla or Le 

4. The residue to be equally divided between the 
aforesaid persons. 

5. Provides for the division of the said residue in 
case the number of persons falls short of the number 


on the Roll, and a ** Surplus Fund Account " to be 

Six articles follow, providing for the management of 
the scheme and the sending in of claims of persons 
entitled to be Burgesses or Burgesses' Sons or Widows, 
etc., etc. 


The Public House called the Prince of Wales Inn, 
now let with the plots of land next mentioned to Mrs. 
Yorath at a rent of ;^io per annum. 

A garden, a pond, and a field containing la. 2c. or 
thereabouts, known as the " Croft," and let with the 
said Prince of Wales Inn as aforesaid. 

The interest of the Corporation in Kenfig Common 
or Down, containing 1,200 acres or thereabouts. 

The franchise of free warren on a certain portion 
of the said Kenfig Common, now let at a rent of 
£2,$ I OS. per annum. 

Sums of £1,600 and ;^ioo now in the custody of 
Christopher R. M. Talbot, Esquire, M.P., on which 
interest is paid to the Corporation at the rate of ;i^5 
per centum per annum. 

Chattel property, including silver mace, cup, sets of 
weights, seal,- furniture, and documents. (These are 
of late date — George II., I believe.) 

And so, like Kenfig Borough, and maybe my 
readers' patience, my work has reached its close, and 
I have now to express my grateful thanks to Dr. 
Walter de Gray Birch, LL.D., F.S.A., Librarian of 
the Marquess of Bute at Cardiff Castle and elsewhere, 


for much valuable assistance ; to Mr. Godfrey Lips- 
comb, of Twyn-yr-hydd, for much kind assistance ; to 
Mr. Ed. Roberts, of Swansea, for help in elucidating 
Welsh place-names ; to the Rev. D. J. Jones; to the 
Rev. Thomas Howell for information on Kenfig ; to 
Mr. Voyle Morgan for sketch of altar-slabs ; also to 
Mr. John Cox and Mr. E. M. Jenkins for kind assist- 
ance. My little dog I must not forget ; he willingly 
sat by the menhir to give an idea of its height. 
He loved the sand-dunes too, but I think rabbits had 
somethino- to do with his love. 

The photographs of Sker, Kenfig Pool, Castle, and 
Pyle Church are by Mr. Newark Lewis, Port Talbot ; 
the font by Mr. T. W. Gray. Some of the others 
are mine. 



WE have seen a great deal about the early lords of 
Glamorgan and owners of the manor of Kenfig, so 
it may be interesting to follow the line which Fitzhamon 

As we have seen, Sir Robert was succeeded by his son-in-law, 
Robert Earl of Gloucester, son of King Henry I. 

Robert the Earl was succeeded by his son William, whose 
only son Robert died early in Hfe. His daughter Amice married 
Richard de Clare, Earl of Hertford, and from her all the later 
Earls of Gloucester were descended. 

The third daughter married Prince John, Earl of Mortagne, 
afterwards King John of England. John became the third Earl 
of Gloucester and lord of Glamorgan, but on becoming King he 
divorced his wife, who then married Geoffrey de Mandeville. 
Geoffrey became, by right of his wife, fourth Earl of Gloucester 
and lord of Glamorgan. He was killed at a tournament in 
London. Isabella, his widow, married a third husband, Hubert 
de Burgh, Earl of Kent. 

Isabella's sister Mabel married Almeric de Montford, a 
Norman Earl who became fifth Earl of Gloucester and lord 
of Glamorgan ; he bore the title only for a short time before his 
death in 1221. 

Two of the daughters of William the Earl having failed to 

provide a line of succession for the lands and title, both fell 

to the third daughter Amice, who had married Richard de Clare, 

Earl of Hertford, and thus it happened that the golden shield 



of the Clares with the three red chevrons was first seen among 
the lords of Glamorgan, and is now the heraldry of Cardiff City. 
These arms were also borne by Margam Abbey. 

Gilbert their son, as the lineal successor of Fitzhamon, uniting 
the earldom of Gloucester with that of Hertford, became the 
sixth Earl of Gloucester and lord of Glamorgan ; he married 
Isabel, daughter of William Earl of Pembroke. Gilbert suc- 
ceeded in I22I ; died in 1230. 

Isabel, five months after his death, married his friend Richard 
Earl of Cornwall, brother of King Henry III. ; she thus became 
Countess of Gloucester, Hertford, Cornwall and Poictiers. She 
died 1239-40. Isabel left many legacies to Tewkesbury Abbey, 
among them a phial containing reHcs of St. Cornelius or St. 

As Richard de Clare, Gilbert's son, was only eight years old 
when his father died, he became the King's ward for several 
years. He succeeded in 1243. He married Maud de Lacy 
after being, by the King's influence, divorced from Margaret 
de Burgh. Richard took the " cross " and went to the Crusades. 
He died in 1262. He was the seventh Earl of Gloucester and 
lord of Glamorgan. 

Gilbert de Clare, eighth Earl, was nicknamed "the red." Like 
his father Richard, he was a ward of the Crown for two years. 
When he was nine years of age he was betrothed to Alice, 
daughter of Guy, Earl of March and Angouleme, who was still 
younger ; they were married in 1253, eight years after. They 
were divorced twenty-three years later, and Gilbert married 
Joan d'Acre, daughter of King Edward I. Their son Gilbert 
was born in 1290, and was scarcely five years old when his 
father died. 

Joan d'Acre, almost immediately after the Red Earl's death, 
married a plain esquire, Ralph de Monthermer. Her father, the 
King, confiscated her lands and imprisoned her husband in 
Bristol Castle, but was eventually reconciled to his daughter. 
Ralph was permitted to bear the title of Earl of Gloucester until 
the young Gilbert came of age. He was thus ninth Earl of 
Gloucester and was also lord of Glamorgan. 

In the Calendar of Patent Rolls, June 24, 1307, 35 Ed. I., is a 
grant to Ralph de Monte Hermeri, Earl of Gloucester, in lieu of 
a grant to him in fee simple of the Earldom of Athol and the 


lands pertaining thereto in Scotland, but which the King now 
proposes to grant to David, son of John, sometime Earl of Athol, 
of 10,000 marks for him to buy land to the value of 1,000 marks 
a year for the maintenance of himself and his children by Joan, 
the King's daughter. The said David will pay 5,000 marks 
thereof. For the other 5,000 marks the King grants him the 
custody, during the minority of the heir, of all the lands in 
Wales without counties, which, by the death of the said Joan 
and by reason of the minority of Gilbert, son and heir of Gilbert 
de Clare, sometime Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, were taken 
into the King's hands. . . . Mandate to Roger du Lyt, to whom 
the King committed the custody of the Castle of Kennefeck to 
deliver the said castle to the Earl. 

Gilbert de Clare was tenth Earl of Gloucester and lord of 
Glamorgan. He married Maud de Burgh, daughter of the Earl 
of Ulster. He was killed at the battle of Bannockburn, June 23, 
13 14, and with him the male line of the Clares came to an end ; 
they had been lords of Glamorgan during a period of 89 years. 
His estates were divided among his three sisters, the honour of 
Gloucester going to Alianora, the eldest, who married, in 132 1, 
Hugh le Despenser the younger, and he was created Earl of 
Gloucester. Thus the Despensers came to be lords of 
Glamorgan. Hugh was eleventh Earl of Gloucester. He 
had three sons — Hugh, Edward, and Gilbert. His surcoat was 
emblazoned with the chevrons of the Clares in the first and 
fourth quarters, Despenser fret in the second, and the sable bend 
of de iChesnei in the third. He was hanged at Hereford for 
siding with the King, Edward H., against his wicked queen 
Isabel. His widow married William Lord de la Zouch. 

Lord de la Zouch became lord of Glamorgan, He died in 
1335. His widow retained the title of Countess of Gloucester 
until she died in 1337. 

Margaret de Clare, sister of Alianora de Clare, married Hugh 
Lord de Audley, twelfth Earl of Gloucester but not lord of 

Hugh le Despenser, son and heir of Hugh le Despenser and 
Alianora, succeeded Lord de la Zouch as lord of Glamorgan. 
He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Montacute, Earl of 
Salisbury, but died childless in 1348-49. His widow married 
Guy de Brien, Lord of Welwyn, her third husband. 


In the Calendar of Close Rolls is the entry : 1349, Apl. 30, 
23 Edw. III. To Simon Basset, escheator in co. Gloucester, and 
to Roger de Berkerole. Order not to intermeddle further with 
the tenements assigned in dower to Elizabeth, late the wife of 
Hugh le Despenser tenant in chief, in their custody among the 
possessions of Hugh in Wales . . . and now the King has 
assigned to Elizabeth ... the castle, manor and town of 

Hugh's nephew Edward, son of his brother Edward and 
Ann, daughter of Lord Ferrers, succeeded and became lord of 
Glamorgan in 1358. In the Calendar referred to above, date 
July 6, 1359, is the entry : To Henry de Prestwod, escheator in 
the CO. Gloucester and the adjacent march of Wales, Order to 
deliver to Edward son of Edward le Despenser, kinsman and 
heir of Hugh le Despenser, whose homage the King has taken 
for the lands that the said Hugh his uncle held in chief at his 
death . . . the castle and manor of Kenefeg . , . taken into the 
King's hand by the death of Elizabeth late Hugh's wife . . . etc. 
He married Elizabeth, daughter of Lord de Burghersh. Edward 
le Despenser gave the charter dated May 14, 34 Edw. III., 
1360, to Kenfig. The charter is not extant, but the te.xt is 
preserved in the charter given by his son Thomas, dated 
16 Feb. 1397, and preserved at Kenfig. Edward died at Cardiff 
Castle, 1375. 

Thomas, third son of Edward, born about 1370, succeeded as 
lord of Glamorgan. He married Constance, daughter of 
Edmund of Langley, Earl of Cornwall and Duke of York, fourth 
son of King Edward III. Thomas, as stated above, gave a 
charter to Kenlig, and included in it is the Inspeximns of his 
father's charter to the burgesses. He was put to death at Bristol 
for siding with the King, January 15, 1399-1400. 

Richard, son of Thomas, born 1396, succeeded, but he died at 
the age of 19 years, while still a ward of the Crown. His wife 
was EHzabeth, daughter of Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmore- 
land ; he left no children, and with him ended the line of the 


The Beauchamps. 

Richard le Despenser's sister Isabel, born at Cardiff, July 26, 
1400, succeeded to his lands and rights. She married Richard 
Beauchamp, Earl of Worcester, who became lord of Glamorgan 
from 1415 to 1422. They had a daughter Elizabeth. His 
charter is preserved at Kenfig ; it is a confirmation of Thomas 
le Despenser's charter. Isabel's charter is also preserved at 
Kenfig ; it is dated i May, 1423. The Earl was killed at Meaux. 

Isabel afterwards, Nov. 26, 1423, married her late hus- 
band's cousin, Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who 
became lord of Glamorgan. They had a son, the future Duke 
of Warwick. Richard died at Rouen Castle in 1439, and his 
son succeeded him. 

Henry de Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick, became lord of 
Glamorgan. He married Cicely, daughter of Richard Neville 
Earl of Salisbury. He died in 1446. 

By marriage, in 1449, with Anne de Beauchamp, daughter of 
the Countess Isabel and sister of the Duke of Warwick, Richard 
Neville became lord of Glamorgan. He was known as the 
King-maker. He it was who granted to Margam Abbey Newton 
Nottage in exchange for Resolven. He was killed at the battle of 
Barnet, April 14, 1471. His widow lived thirty years after him in 
poverty. They had two daughters — Isabel, who married George 
Duke of Clarence, and Anne, who married first Edward, son of 
Henry VI., and afterwards King Richard III. 

George Duke of Clarence, Earl of Warwick, became lord of 
Glamorgan. He had two sons, Edward and Richard, and a 
daughter, Margaret, who became Marchioness of Salisbury, and 
died on the scaffold in 1541 — one of the crimes of Henry VIII. 
George is said to have been drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine 
in the Tower of London in 1477. 

The possessions of the Clares and the Despensers had been 
finally absorbed among the Crown lands long before the death 
of Edward, the son of George Duke of Clarence. Thus the 
whole of Fitzhamon's possessions and rights were lost by his 

[These notes on the descendants of Sir Robert Fitz-Hamon 
are taken in part from " Tewkesbury Abbey," by the Rev. John 
Henry Blunt, M.A., F.S.A.] 



GcnealogicCLl Table of the Descendants of EobeH Fih-Hamon. 

Robert FitZ'nanjoii= Sybil 
-1107 I 

Mabel =Robert Kti-Roy 
-1157 [ 1090-H47 
"VTiUiam = H awiso 

Robert Isabels (1) John, aft. King 
-1166 -1218 (2) Geoffrey Mandevillo 

= ^^= (3) Rubert de Burgh 

Mabel =Alrtieric 
-1198 i dcMontford 
Alnicric Devereux = MUlicent 

-1226 de Gouniay 

Amices Hichard 
de Clare 

(1) Gilbert = Isabel de Marechal=Rich. E. of Cornwall (2) 
-1230 I -1240 

llicbard = Mand de Lacy 
1222-1262 I 

(1> Gilbert = Joan d'Acre= Ralph Monthermer (2) 
1243-1296 j -1307 

6ilbert=Maud de Burgh (1) Hugh le= Eleanor = Will, de la Zonch (2) Margarot=HiiKh de 

1291-1314 -1315 Despencer -1337 I -1335 ' Audley 

= = -1326 -1347 

(1) H;ip>i=:;Eliz. MontacQte=G«y de Brien 
1322-1349 -1359 | -1391 


Ed ward = Ann Ferrars 
-1342 I 

Edward =Eliz. de Bnrgbersh 
1341-1375 I -1409 

Thomas = Constance de Langiey 
1370-1399 I -1417 

Richard = Eliz. Neville 

(1) Rich. Beauchamp = Isabel =. Rich. Benuchamp (2) 
E. of Worcester I 1409-1439 I E. of Warwick 

-14a I i , 

Edw. Naville=Eliznheth nenrj-=Cicely Ncvillo 

-1476 I HIS- D. of Warwick I -1501 
George' 1425-1446 | 

A Anne 

' 1443-1449 

Anne=Rich. Neville (the King-Makcy) 
I -1471 

Isabel s= George, D. of Clarence 

ur>i-me r -1477 

(1) Edward, = Anne=Kchard, 
r. of Wales -5485 | aft. K. 
14.W-1471 Edward, 



Margaret= Rich, de la Role 
1473-1541 I 

P. of Walea 



Ursulas Henry "Stafford 
, extinct in 1640 

ri-om whom tlio Eiirli of Abcrgavonncy and the Enrons Le Despencer are descended. 



Page 22. — Badlesmere and Brymmesfeld both appear to have 
been "custodes" in some manner in the year a.d. 1314, perhaps 
each for part of the year. 

Page 38. — The year of the invasion of Glamorgan was about 
A.D. 1090. 

Page 39. — Crymlyn. I suggest Crynlyn as possibly the 
original name ; crynu, to shake or to quake, the movement 
of a bog when walked on. 

Page 43. — Astreville ; this name no longer exists, and I have 
not been able to find the modern name of the town or place. 
Corbeil; a town on the River Seine, twenty-five miles south- 
south-east of Paris. Torigny ; a town in the Department of La 
Manche in Normandy, thirty miles west-south-west of Caen. 
Granville ; a seaport town on the west coast of La Manche in 

Page 45. — Tinchebrai ; a town in the north-west of the De- 
partment of Orne in Normandy, fifty-four miles south-west of 
Caen. Mr. Clark says Fitzhamon was wounded at the siege of 
Caen and died of the wound. 

Page 61.—" Calefurciis " ; Mr. C. T. Martin, in the " Record 
Interpreter," gives Calafurcium, gallows. Ducange, in his "Glos- 
sarium," gives Calofurcium. 

Page 62. — "At the command of Lewehn"; this was Llewelyn 
the Great, Llewelyn ap lorwerth, Prince of Wales. He reigned 
from 1 194 to 1240. 

Page 69. — Llandaff ; the Anglicised form of the Welsh 
Llan Dav. 

Page 84. — According to the Annales de Theokesberia Gilbert 
de Sullie, Vicar of Kenfig, died on August 7, a.d. 1242, and on 
September 4th Walter Alured was presented to the vicarage. 

Page 143. — Hafodheulog ; the sunny summer abode. 

Page 148. — Another instance of the destruction of a port on 
this coast by the encroachment of the sea is mentioned by Mr. 


C. F. Cliffe in his "Book on South Wales." "The work of 
destruction," he writes, " is constantly going on. At the mouth 
of the Colhugh, a small stream which runs from Llantwit (Major), 
are vestiges of an ancient port, chiefly consisting of some piles 
of oak on the beach, called the ' Black-men,' an outwork of a 
pier. A considerable trade with Somersetshire was carried on, 
and vessels came here for protection in the reign of Henry VIII." 
With regard to Kenfig as a seaport, my friend, Mr.W. S. Powell, 
of Waungron, Whitland, formerly of Eglwysnunyd, tells me he 
was often told by old people that small ships used to use the 
m§uth of Kenfig river, and he recollects seeing mooring-posts 
at the entrance a short distance from the shore. This is very 
interesting, and shows that up to comparatively recent times 
Kentig river entrance, even after the besanding, was used as a 

Page 209. — La Hamme ; a plot of pasture ground, in some 
cases especially meadow-land, in others especially an enclosed 
plot, a close. Found in Old English and still in local use in 
the south, in some places surviving only as the name of a par- 
ticular piece of ground (Murray). 

Plan of site of Kenfig town, &c., is 4*20 inches to a mile. 

Page 259. — A few days ago Mr. J. V. Morgan, Clerk of the 
Works at Margam, informed me that an ancient font had been 
unearthed at Sturmi Farm. As the farm is barely seven hundred 
yards away from the ruins of the church, I have no doubt this 
is the font, or part of it, which belonged to the little church. 
It is of Sutton stone, and of somewhat rude workmanship. The 
width is two feet nine and a half inches ; the sides are parallel 
for six inches, and then are splayed inwards, reducing the 
diameter to two feet two inches ; under the splay are two neck- 
rolls, the upper one two inches in depth and the lower one three 
inches ; the hollow is only six and a half inches in depth. This 
upper part originally stood on a pedestal, as an annular space 
ten inches in diameter and two and a half inches deep is pro- 
vided for the shaft, and for further security a large dowel hole 
is continued for two or three inches. It is probable, if the ruins 
were cleared out, the base would be discovered, and thus an 
interesting relic of the church which Geoffrey Sturmi built " in 
his vill in the wilderness, on his land whereon no one had ever 
hitherto ploughed." 


Abbot of Margam draws up 
detailed list of Abbey pos- 
sessions, and complains of 
losses by sand-storms, 19 

Ablington, 195 

Act of Henry VIII. and of 
A.D. 1554, damage by sand- 
storms, 148 

Afan and Neath rivers, 292 

Afan river, 40, 292, 310 

Agneta Verz Thomas, 265 

Alexander, William, 89 

Alice, daughter and heiress of 
Thomas Montacute, 
„ daughter of Alexander, 

„ daughter of Richard de 

Clare, 316, 317 
„ relict of Geoffrey, 228 
,, the famula^ or servant 

of the church, 88 
„ the inclusa^ 87 

Alicia Terri, widow of Richard 
de Ewyas, 229 

Altar, ancient mensa of, Pyle 
Church, 97 

Altar-slab from St. James's 
Church, Kenfig, 92 

Altar-slabs, 91 

Alweiscnappe, 132, 285 
Amabilia, the miller's daughter, 

225, 226, 227 
Ammophila arundinacea, plant- 
ing of, 32 
Angarat, wife of Walter Luval, 

jun., 219 

" Annales de Margan " : death 

of Earl Robert, 50 

,, de Theokesberia," 


Anne, daughter and heiress of 

Richard Beauchamp, 286 
Annoeth, Oeth and Annoeth, 

305, 306 
Anselm, Walter, son of, 77 
Aragon, Catherine of, 51 
Arbitration between Margam 

and Neath Abbeys, 81 
Assize of Bread and Beer, 
„ Novel-dissein, 183 
Astreville, 43, 334 
Athelwa, wife of Walter Luvel, 

Augmentations, Court of, 94 
Avan. The bounds of Avan, 

Avene, Sir Leisan de, defends 

Kenfig Castle, a.d. 1315, 64 
22 337 



Badlesmere, Bartholomew 
DE, ministers' accounts, 22, 

64, 335 
Baiden, 189 

Baien, which is in sabluuo^ 286 
Baithan, 132 
Ballas, Old, 185 ; Ballas, 217, 

Banty, John ("The Manor"), 


Baring-Gould, " Book on Brit- 
tany," 193 

Beauchamp, de, 333 

„ Richard Earl of 

Worcester, 116 

Benedictines, 52 

Berkelay, Mauricius de, 59 

Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, 
writes to Henry I., 47, 48 

Betynges, 217 

Beuno, Saint, 71 

Bil, Wronu, 285 

Birch, Dr. W. de Gray, 17, 135, 
235, 253, 258, 262, 327 

Blackmore, R. D., " The Maid 
of Sker," 233, 234 

Blaklaak, 178 

Bodvoc, Sepulchral stone, 16, 

17, 307 
Bowen, Mr. Ivor, 33, 123 
Brakelond, Jocelin of, monk of 

St. Edmundsbury, 139, 190 
Brecknock, 37, 42 
Brenneville, Battle of, 46 
Bristol, Bailiff of, had orders to 

seize wool bought by Ghent 

merchants from Margam, 

" Britanniae, Historia Regum," 


Briton Ferry, 39 

Britons, 194 

Brittany, 194 

Brombil's Cross, 189 ; Brom- 

bil, 255 ; Gweyn y Brombyll, 

Brother John indicted for 

robbing David de Gower, 

Brother Meuric of St. Michael's 

Grange, 223 
Browneswolde, Thomas de, 

Brymmesfeld, John Giffard de, 

ministers' accounts, 21, 22, 

60, 65, 149, 335 
Bryn-y-Beddau, near Hirwaun, 

" Brut y Tywysogion," 41 

Buellt, 42 

Bull of Alexander IV., 215 
,, Pope Innocent III. con- 
firms gifts to Mar- 
gam, 142 
,, Pope Urban III. con- 
firms Hugh de 
Hereford's gift to 
Margam, 140 
,, Pope Urban VI., 20 
Bulluschesbruhe, 132, 285 
Burgage, meaning of, 55 
Burgages in Kenfig, 149 
Burrows of Pennard and Pen- 

maen formed, 20 
Byrchynsha, Master Maurice, 

Byton Castle, taking of, 46 

Cadivor, son of Colwyn, lord 
of Dyvet, 38 



" Calefurciis " gallows, 6i 
Capel Papistiaid, 83 
Cantusus pater Paulinus, 310 
Caradoc, Morgan ap, 35, 37, 40, 
197, 277 
„ son of Bran, 303 
Cardiff and Kenfig burned, a.d. 
1185, 61 
„ Cowbridge, Kenfig, 
Neath, Avan, and 
Llantrisant made 
boroughs, 41 
„ population in a.d. 1801, 

„ Richard de, 132, 235, 
Carnac, church of, in Brittany, 

Carreg Bica, 307 
" Castel Kribor," Castle Kibur, 
or Castell Kribor, 187, 200, 
254, 272 
Castle-bailey, 58 
Catotigirn, 17 

Catpitt, Catput, Catteshole 
132, 134, 252, 271, 

„ Pwll-y-gath, 30, 128, 
132, 203, 247, 271, 
273, 274, 285 
Catteryn, War-kings, 40 
Catwg, Cawan, and Cyfelach, 
three of the Bishops of Mar- 
gam alias Kenfig, 320 
Cefn Cribwr, or Keven Kribwr, 
35, 57, 254, 255, 269, 270, 
276, 277, 281, 300 
Cemetery, 67, 154 ; old ceme- 
tery at Corneh, 73 
Cen and Pen same meaning, 34 

Cen-y-ffig, the head of the 

swamp, 34 
Cewydd, Saint, remains of 

Church of, 74 
Charter of Isabel Countess of 
Worcester, 117 
„ Richard Earl of 

Worcester, 116 
,, Thomas le Des- 

penser, transla- 
tion of, 108 
Charters of WilHam, second 
Earl of Gloucester, to the 
monks, 55 
Chencer, 175 
Chenewinus, 255 
Chynffig, 41 ; Chenefeg, 69 ; 

Cynffig, 294 
Citeaux, Abbot and General 

Chapter of, 81 
Cistercians, 49, 50, 200, 232, 


Clairvaux, 50 

,, monks of, 49, 284 

Clare, de, 22^ 26, 27, 64, 98, 
218, 224, 265, 273, 275, 278, 
279, 280, 316, 317, 329, 330, 

331, 334 
Clark, Mr., 37, 41, 132, 151, 

235, 239 
Cliffe, Mr. C. P., "Book of 

South Wales," 83 
Clynnog, 71 
Conan, Abbot of Margam, 130, 


Consistory Court at Margam, 

Constable of Kenfig to be 

coroner, 128 
Conversi, 200 



Conynger, " Conies Pasture," 

Corbeil, 43, 335 
" Corf," meaning of, in 
Cornell, 89, 186, 216, 218, 226, 
„ chapel of, 73 ; Thomas 

de, 87 
„ North, 71, 204, 230, 
242, 285 ; South, 75, 
76, 80, 81, 82, 218, 
230, 242, 285 
„ Philip de, 217 
„ Saint, 71 ; chapel of, 

Comely, William de, son of 

Roger de Cornely, 

„ Duna de, 217, 218, 

273, 291 
Corrody for servants, 59 
Court of Pie Poudre, 127 
Coytiff, Rector of, 182 
Cradock, Sir Mathew, 266, 295 
Crannoc, 210 
Credic Correwen, 225 
Crymlyn Burrows, 39, 40 ; 

Cremlyn, 41, 335 
Cucking-stool, 175 
Cumin, carravvay seed, 130 
Cwm Maelwg, 302, 318 
Cwrt-y-defaid, 318 
Cynan, Pwll, 113 
Cynan, son of Prince Rhys, 

Dafydd Edward o Ddinas 

Margam, 321 
Dame Alice Grove, 216 
Dane's Vale, 132, 185 

Despenser, Edward le, 55, 98, 

99, 108, 123, 332 

„ Hugh le, 24, 66, 98, 

„ Richard le, 332, 333 

„ Thomas, lord le, 56, 

98, 99, 105, 108, 
128, 146 
Deheubarth, 40 
Deumay, culture of, 30, 203, 

205, 229 
Dewiscumbe, 132 
Diurec, son of John, son of 
Joaf , assigns land to Margam 
Abbey, 226 
Dol, maenhir at, 194 
Donovan, on tomb-slab, a.d. 

1804, 84 
Du, Caradoc, 132-134. See 
Pedigree between pages 

142, 143 
,, Family, 142, 144 

pedigree, 143 
,, John, 133. Sec Pedigree 
between pages 142-143 
„ Wrgan, 217 
Dysgwylfa, 308 
Dyved, 38 
Dyvet, lord of, 38 

Earl Robert gives " Ponte " 
and Sker to Neath, and Mar- 
gam to the monks of Margam, 


Eclipse in a.d. 1185, 61 

Edward III., Kenfig Ordi- 
nances, fourth year of, 156 

Einon, son of Cadivor, 38, 39 

Einon-y-bradwr, 40 

Elena le Yonge, 216 



Ellesfeld, Gilbert de, Sheriff of 

Glamorgan, 223 
Ernald, Constable of Kenfig, 

Espus, son of Caradoc Du, 132 
Esstreet in Kenfig, 151 
Essyllvvg, the ancient Mor- 

ganwg, 40 
Esturmi, Geoffrey, 69 
EternaUs Vedomavus, 17 
Ewenny, 131 
Ewyas, Richard de, burgess of 

Kenfig, 229 

Ff in Welsh, 34 
Ffig, Cen-y-, 34 
Ffigen, Cefn-y-, 34 
Ffildir-aur, y-, 39 
Ffynnon Gattuke, 191 

„ Tywod, 66, 181 
Ffynnon-y-Maen, 254, 255 
Ffynnon-y-Mer, 251 
Ffynnon-Pedr, 253 
Fitzhamon, Sir Robert, 34, 36, 
37, 38, 42, 43, 44, 45, 7o, 328, 

329, 333 
Fons Petrae, 254* 
Ford of Tav, 255 
Fortingdon, Dom Robert of. 

Abbot of Tewkesbury, 85 
Franc almoign, 75 
Francis, "Neath anditsAbbey," 

236, 311, 312 

Frankelein, William, agreement 
with Margam Abbey, and 
grant of land later, 207, 208 

Fratres conversi, or lay-breth- 
ren, 52 

Free Sergeant, 155 
„ Warren in the Berwes, 24 

Gallt-y-Cwm, 143 

Gam, Morgan, lord of Afan, 

35, 63 
Gamage, Mr., 276 
Garw, Cae, 241, 252 
Gasquet, Dom Francis Aidan, 

48, 51, 213 
Gebon ys londe, 266 
Gersumma, 87, 213 
Gilbert, Abbot of Margam, a.d. 
1203-1213, 197 
„ the priest of New 
Castle, 258 
Gillemichel, Cadvant, Griffith 
and Cadrauc, 
sounis of, 272, 
,, William, grant by 

Walaueth, son 
of, 229 
Giraldus Cambrensis, 131, 198 
Gistelard, son of John, son of 
Bellas, grants land to Mar- 
gam Abbey, 134 
Glamorgan, 29, 37, 41 

,, and Morganwyg, 

lords of, 177 
„ County Court, 183, 

—J, — .-J. 

„ Gilbert de Elles- 

feld, Sheriff of, 
Gloucester, county of, 268 

,, Earls of, 41, 265, 

,, Gilbert Earl of, 

finds minerals in 

Wales, 218 
„ Robert, son of 

Henry I., made 



Earl of, 46, 47, 
48, 70, 284, 291, 

Gloucester, St. Peter's, the Ab- 
bot of, 258, 259 
„ William Earl of, 

42, 54, 70, 129, 
258, 260, 261, 262, 

Glyndwr, Owen, 65 
Glynne, Sir Stephen, 90, 96 
Goch, Rhyd Yorath, 272, 275 
Godwineth, 256 
Goronwy,sonof Prince Rhys, 39 
Gower, David de, 223 

„ West, Rev. J. D. 
Davies, 33 
Goylake, 30, 198, 199, 200, 201, 
202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 
208, 209, 211, 213, 239. 
Grameshill, 239 
Gramus, Agnes, 210 
„ AHce, 205 
„ Gillebert, 155, 197, 

198, 200 
,, Hugh, 201, 208 
,, Maurice, 199,201, 208, 
211, 227 
Roger, 31, 198, 199, 
200, 208, 209, 210 
„ Thomas, lived in The 
Hall, Corneh, 187, 
197, 199, 201, 202, 
203, 204, 205, 206, 
207, 208, 209, 214 
" Granges of Margam Abbey," 

Grangetown, formerly a grange 
of Margam Abbey, 263 

Gregory, son of Robert, 129, 

Griffin Began, 262 
Griffith, John ap, 223 
„ Rees ap, 223 
Rev. John, 253 
Groes Siencyn, 189 
Groes-y-Dadl, 32, 176, 301, 322 
Groes-y-Gryn, 189, 241, 252, 

308, 315 
Gruffyd, son of Meredydd, 38 
Gruffydd, Groes, 317 

,, Lord Rhys ap, 316, 

Gryffyth ap Gwelym, Jeuan ap, 

Gugan Bodevven, 225 
Guildhall, 153 
Gunnilda,wifeof Roger Sturmi, 

grants her dower-land, 254, 

255, 257 
Gutter-y- Furlong, 241, 251 
Gwrgan, lestyn ap. Prince of 

Glamorgan, 36, 37 
Gwter Du, 181 
Gwter-y-Cwn, 251 
Gwyl Mabsant, 124 
Gyllyng, 184 

Hafod Farm, 221 
Hafren, the Severn Sea, 41, 186 
Hagarath, Zewan ap, 217 
Hagur, Hoel ap Gruff, 182 
Hall, The, 187, 208 
Halhday, Mr. G. E., 289, 290 
Hamelduna, Jurdan de, 84 
Hamme, La, 209, 336 
Hawisia, Countess of Glouces- 
ter, 129, 260, 286 
Hayward, 114 



Helias, son of Philip Alexander, 

Hennius, 319 

Henry I, negotiates a marriage 
for his son, 46, 47 
„ II. and "Taking the 

Cross," 138 
M V, 88 
„ VI, 263 

„ VIII. and his quarrel 
with the Pope, 51 ; 
Act of, 148, 236, 238, 

Hebl-las, 58, 71 
Heol-y-Splot, 77 
Heol-y-Troedwyr, 190 
Herbert, Philip, Earl of Pem- 
broke, 275 
„ Sir William, 287 
Hereford, Hugh de, 137, 138, 
140, 273 
„ Jordan de, 56 

„ Roger Mortimer, 

Earl of, 66 
Hermitage of Theodoric, 221 
Heuedaker, or Hafod-decaf, 

High Street, 153 
Hilary, St., the Bishop, 61 
Hirwaun, 263 

Hokeday, or Okeday, 149, 201 
Hospital or Maladeria, 154 
Hospitallers, Knights, 227 
Houses, half-timbered, 78 
Howel, Lewis ap Thomas ap, 
„ Rev. Thomas, 57 
Hughes, Mr. Isaac Craigfryn, 

Humber, 319 

Humfrevil, Sir Henry, 279 
Hywel, lord of Glamorgan, 36 

Iago, one of the bishops of 

Margam, alias Kenfig, 320 
Iberian race, 194 
lestyn, lord of Glamorgan, 

38, 40 
Ilci stone, 315, 316 
Ilquici stone, 315, 316 
Inspeximus by Ed. le Despen- 
ser and by Hugh 
le Despenser, 55 
„ Royal, 94 

lolo MSS., 295 

Isabel, Countess, 143, 272, 275 
Isca Silurum, 18 
Istormy for Stormy, 265 
Isud, Isota, Ysota, or Iseude, 

202, 203, 205 
Ivor Vaghan, quit-claim to 

Margam, 141 

J., Abbot of Fountains, arbitra- 
tor, 81 

James, St., Church of, 35, 67, 
70, 83, 86, 93, 95, 96 

Jerusalem, House of St. John 
of, 200 

Jestyn, 39 

Jeuan ap Gryffyth ap Gwelym, 

Joan, daughter of Philip, son 

of David, 211 

„ Queen of England, 66 

John, Abbot of Margam, 184 
„ Earl of Mortagne, 141, 

„ King, confirms Peiteuin 
to Margam, 136, 143 



John, Mr. Evan, Ty'n-y-Seler, 

„ son of Hosebert, grant to 

Alice the inclusa, 87 
Jonys, Richard, 95 
Jouaf Trwyngam, 273 

Kenfig Castle, 35, 37, 4i» 44, 
57, 60, 296 
„ Charters, 41 
„ Church, 86 
„ Farm, 83 
„ King's Majesty, pat- 
ron of, 35 
„ Pool, 178, 182 
„ Port, 146, 147, 345 

River, 34, 35, 58, 148, 
197, 198, 200, 211, 
Ketherech, son of John Du, 73, 

80, 133, 134 
Keynsham, or Kensam Priory, 

37, 55 
Kribor, Castel, or Castell Cri- 

bwr, 187, 200 
Kynligge, borough of, 34, 35 

Laleston, 40 

Langevvy, Llangewydd, 132 
" Lapidarium Wallias," 17 
Le Due, Viollet, French archi- 
tect, 58 
Legion, Second, 186 
Leisan, lord of Afan, 62 
Leland, John, and Kenfig, 26, 

33, 34, 123, 147, 233 
Lewelin, Prince of Wales, 62, 

Lichesfeld, W. de, 56 

Lieursouns, a kind of bread, 155 

Lipscomb, Mr. Godfrey, 79, 80, 

Llandaff, Anglicised form of 

Llan Dav, 69, 335 
Llaneltyd fawr, 41 
Llanfihangel Mill, 186, 215, 219 
Llanfihangel Grange, 220, 221, 

222 223 
Llangarvan, 41 
Llangeinor, 143 
Llewellyn, Mr. R. W., 83 
Llewelyn, son of Cadivor, 38 
Luvel, Walter, 74, 75 
„ „ junior, 75 

Mabel, daughter of Sir Robert 

Fitzhamon, 44, 46, 47, 54 
Mabon, one of the bishops of 

Margam, alias Kenfig, 320 
Mabsant, 71 

Maenhir, 193, 194, 195, 196 
Magdalene, St. Mary, 73, 89, 

90, 188, 280 
Magnus Rotulus Pipae, 59 
Magour, Robert de, 152 
Mansell, Sir Edward, 37, 40, 

269, 270, 275, 276, 280, 320 
Margam, 40, 50, 129, 140, 292 

,, Monastery of, 131, 303 
Margery, daughter of Roger, 

Marias, 57, 186, 204, 219, 220 
Marie, Thomas le, 187 

,, William de, 219, 220 
" Martilogium," 281 
Mawdlam, 33 
Men-er-H'roech, 194 
Meuric,Brother, of St. Michael's 

Grange, 223 
Meyrick, Rees, 40, 41 



Ministers' Accounts, 25 

Mixion, 176 

Monmouth, 37 

„ Castle, 64 

Morgan Mwynfawr, 320 

„ son of Adras, one of 
the bishops of Mar- 
gam, alias Kenfig, 

Morganwg, 40, 42 

Mullemannislond, 226 

Mystery, a handicraft, 176 

Nant Craig yr Aber, 317 
Naughtipack, 176 
Neath Abbey, 41, 49, 232, 236 
,, Castle, 62 
„ River, 37, 40 
Newcastle, Bridgend, 40 
Newditch, no, 120, 128, 180, 

Newton and Newton Nottage, 
71, 74, 82, 239, 283, 286, 287, 
Nicholas ap Gwrgan, Bishop 

of Llandaff, 69 
" Non nobis, Domine, non 

nobis," 79 
Norman Conquest, 41, 335 
„ font at St. Mary Mag- 
dalene's Church, 91 
„ knights, 38, 39 
Normanes, Eneon and the, 39 
North Corneh, 71 
Notch Coarton, 241, 252 

Ogmore, or Ogwye, 40, 41 
Old Castle, British camp, 89, 

Orchard, Grange of, 81 

Orchard's Croft, 77, 78 
Ordnance Survey, 83 
Ordinances of Kenfig, 153, 156 
Ostler, 174 
Ostrey, 174 

Oyfri, probably an error for 
Cyfrif, 170 

Pardon, The, 70, 71 

Paris, Mathew, monk of St. 

Albans, 38 
** Parish Priests and their 

People," 89 
ParHament, Act of, touching 

sand-storm, 33 
Paulinus, 310 

Peiteuin, 132, 133, 135, 224 
Penard and Penmaen, forma- 
tion of burrows of, 20 
Penbrock, Earl of, 34 
Pennuth, Penhydd, 26, 260 
Penvei, Pen-y-Fai, 74, 323 
Peruat, John, 150, 225, 226 

„ Johnand Alice, 216,225 
Philip de Cornell grants min- 
erals to Margam Abbey, 


„ John of Kenfig, illegal 
fishing, 182 

,, Palmer, 213, 214 
Platch yr Eglwys, 310 
Pont FeHn Newydd, 31, 57 
Ponto, Latin for flat-bottom 

boat, 49 
Pool, Kenfig, 34, 181 
Portlond, 214, 215 
Portreveshavok, Hafod-y-porth, 

Prepositus, chief municipal 

officer, 108 



PwU Cynan, 113, 127 
Pwll-y-gath, Catput or Catpitt, 

128, 134 
Plwerin, 212 

Pyle, 93, 94, 95, 204, 211, 220, 
253, 283, 285, 300, 302, 

„ Church, 32, 87, 94, 95, 
96, 215 

Queen of Britain, Cordeilla, 

„ England, Joan, 66 

Recluses, 88 

Reckisorium, a, 89 

Reginald, son of Simon, 60 

Resciant, 174 

Resolven, 143 

Rhiw Tor-y-Cymry, 308 

Rh^d Blaen-y-Cwm, 189 

Rhys, Prince, 39 

Richard the parson, 59 

„ Bishop of Worcester, 

,, II. consults 'a recluse, 

Rievalle, William de, 63 

Rievaulx Abbey, 48 

Ririth, son of Breavel, 56 

Road, new, between Stormy 
Down and Cwrt-y-defaid, 31 

Robert the Consul, 41, 46, 49 

Roger, Abbot of Rievaulx, 291 

Rogers, Mr. Thorold, 51 

Rollo, first Scandinavian con- 
queror of Normandy, 43 

Roman highway, 57, 78, 300, 
307, 308, 317, 322 

Royal Inspeximus, 94 ' 

Rugge, or Rigge, 105, 128, 247, 

251, 274, 279 
Ryche, Sir Richard, 94 

Sacrosanxta, 203 

Salisbury, Hugh, 95 

Sancto Donato, William de, 59 

,, Fagano, Robert Cavan 
de, 59 
Sanctuary, 77, 121 
Scilwe, Sculue, La Chilue, La 

Schilue, Seylve,205, 206, 207, 

Scindulcv, shingles for roofing, 

Scurlag, David, 74 
Seal of Margery, 89 
Seinghenydd, Ivor Bach, lord 

of, 54 
Sepulchral stone, 16 
Severn Sea, 35, 41,42, 211 
Sewers, Commissioners of, 33 
Sewin, 184 
Sheet, Heol-y-, 32 
Siencyn Penh5'dd, 126 
Sker, Skerra, 132, 230, 232, 233, 

234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 251 
Sons of Herbert, 142 
St. Beuno, 71 
,, Ceinwyr, 264 
„ Cewydd, 74 
,, Comely and St. Cornell, 70, 

,, Hilary, the bishop, 61 
,, Iltyd's Spring, 62 
,, James's Church, 68, 83, 86 
„ Mary Magdalene, altar of, 

Mar gam, 280 
„ Mary Magdalene, Church 
of, 89, 90 



St. Mary of Morgan, Margam, 

„ Theodoric ap Teithfach, 24 
,, Thomas, chapel of, 67 
,, Wenduin, 71, 75; 
''Statutes of Wales," Ivor 

Bowen, 33 
Stone crosses, old, 187 

,, Great, 200 
Stradlyng, Sir E., 41 
Stratelyng, Sir Edward de, 183 
Striguil, Chepstow, 146 
Sturmi, Roger, 254, 256, 257, 
258, 260, 261, 262 
„ Geoffrey, 255, 256,257, 
258, 260 
Sturmy, Moor and Down, 141, 

253, 254, 259, 265, 302 
Survey and Presentment, a.d. 
1660, 29 

Tangestellond, 77 

Tanguistel, wife of Ketherech 
Du, 80, 185 

Tapster, 174 

Tatherech, daughter of Ket- 
herech Du, 134 

Tav, Ford of, 254, 255, 256 

Tetbury, 213 

Tethegistoo, Tythegstone, 324 

Tewdv/r, Prince Rhys ap, 38,40 

" Tewkesbury, Annales de," 43 

„ Abbey, 44, 49, 

267, 268 
Theodoric, Hermitage of, 18, 

19, 21, 24 
Thusard, Henry, builds St. 
James's Church, 67 

Tir larll, "The Earl's land," 

Ton Kenfig, 33 
Trawntrey, 175 
Troedwyr, heol-y-, 318 
Troutbeck, Thomas, 95 
Tuder, John, Vicar of Kenfig, 

Tudur, Cradoc, Knaithur, 

Alaithur, and Gronu, 136 
Turre, or Turri, Gregory de,i29 
" Twelve Acres," 77 
Ty Capel, 75, 76, 78 

„ Maen, 76, 77, 78, 81, 82 

„ Tanglwys, 78, 185 
Ty'n-y-Seler, 190 
Tywysogion, Brut y, 36, 41 

UsK RIVER, 37 

Vadum Tavis, 256 
Valle, W de, 56 
Valley of Mey, 141 
Vedomavus, Eternalis, 17 
Via Julia Maritima, 17 
Vortigern, 17 

Vortiper, or Gwrthefir, King of 
Britain, 24 

** Wales, Itinerary through," 
Giraldus Cambrensis, 
„ South-West, 37 
*' Wallice, Lapidarium," 17 
Warre, John de la, cellarer of 

Margam, 192 
Warwick, Earl of, 333 
Wasmer, 199 
Water Street, 190 
Welsh nobles, 40 



"Welsh People, The," Rhys 

and Jones, 192 
Wenduin, St., 71, 75 
Wern, to, 174 
White Cross Down, 76 
William the Chaplain, 150 
Witherell stream, 272 
Worcester, Earl of, 333 
Wrenid, Groneath, 190, 258 
Wurgan Du, 217 

Y FiLLDiR-AUR, "the Golden 
Mile," 39 

Yltuit, croft of, 217 
Yoruard ap Gistelard, 134 
Coh, 274 
„ son of Yoruard Coh, 
Ystrad-fawr, near Bridgend, 

Ystrad-y-fodwg, 253 

Zancloden cautbrensis, 259 
Zewan ap Hagarath, 217 


Page 55, for (C. MCL) read (C. MCLI) 
„ 81, „ (C. DCCI) read (C. DCCCI) 
„ 84, „ (C. DCCCCXCV) read (C. DCCCXCV) 
„ „ „ (C. CCXIV) read (C. CCXCIV) 
„ 85, „ (C. DCCCXII) read (C. DCCCCXII) 



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